Andrew Smith, the Labour MP for Oxford East, has come under fire for sending out thousands of greetings cards marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Mr Smith got local councillors and helpers to dispatch 2,000 cards to members of the Muslim community in which he joins in celebrating the end of the Islamic fasting period.

The cards, which feature a Labour red rose and the words Eid Mubarak or Blessed Eid on the front and Mr Smith's printed signature on the inside, are a gift from the 'New Labour' team in Oxford.

But the MP has been criticised for appearing to single out the Muslim community - by a Muslim city councillor.

And he has been told to show he is even-handed by dispatching greeting cards to all faiths in his constituency.

Tia MacGregor, who represents Quarry & Risinghurst for the Liberal Democrats, said: "My parents received one of Mr Smith's cards and as a Muslim I'd say it's a nice idea.

"I am sure that Christian people in Mr Smith's constituency would appreciate a Christmas card personally addressed to them.

"I hope Mr Smith can take as much trouble to send out Christmas cards as he has with these Eid cards - unless of course he does think some religious festivals are more important than others."

But Mr Smith maintained he had not singled out the community for special treatment.

Mr Smith said: "I think its good to send out a friendly message at this time.

"We've sent out over 2,000 in Oxford East to as many families as we could get them to and have had some really nice messages back thanking us.

"I have previously, and I am sure I will again, attend Jewish events and send messages of good wishes to the Orthodox community.

"Obviously the wherewithal is there to mail certain people more readily and easily than you can others.

"We will be sending out Christmas cards, greetings and newsletters and I am sure for the Chinese New Year too.

"You try and communicate with everybody, I don't think there is much issue with it really.

"I do what I do because I think it's the right thing to do - and I am very relaxed about this."

Eid al Fitr, to give it its full title, is celebrated this year today when Muslim families will mark the end of a month of fasting by holding prayers and eating with family and friends.

Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said: "It's a naked attempt to curry favour with the Muslim voters in east Oxford.