George Osborne faces possible defeat on Wednesday over his plans to allow round-the-clock Sunday shopping by supermarkets and major stores as up to 30 Tory MPs prepare to oppose the move.
The Government’s slender majority is in danger of disappearing in a Commons vote after SNP MPs decided on Tuesday to oppose the extension of Sunday trading in England and Wales.
Although the measure does not apply to Scotland, where Sunday trading has been liberalised, the SNP announced it would vote against the measure. The party said it would oppose the plans because they failed to “protect premium pay of workers in Scotland”.
The Chancellor has described the moves as the biggest shake-up of Sunday trading laws for 20 years and predicted they would lead to a significant economic boost for shops facing competition from online businesses.
Larger retailers in England and Wales are only allowed to trade for six consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm on Sundays, although shops with less than 3,000 sq ft of floor space can open all day.
The law was relaxed for eight weekends during the summer of the 2012 London Olympics, leading to a large rise in sales.
UK news in pictures
UK news in pictures
1/17 22 June 2017
Cosplay fans (L-R) George Massingham, Abbey Forbes and Karolina Goralik travel by tube dressed in Harry Potter themed costumes, after a visit to one the literary franchise's movie filming locations at Leadenhall Market in London, Britain
2/17 22 June 2017
Racegoers cheer on their horse on Ladies Day at the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London
3/17 21 June 2017
A reveller walks among the tipi tents at the Glastonbury Festival of Music and Performing Arts on Worthy Farm near the village of Pilton in Somerset, South West England
4/17 20 June 2017
A police officer lays some flowers passed over by a member of the public, close to Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, after one man died and eight people were taken to hospital and a person arrested after a rental van struck pedestrian
The Borough Market bell is seen in Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
Two women embrace in Borough Market, which officially re-opens today following the recent attack, in central London
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attends the re-opening of Borough market in central London following the June 3 terror attack
People walk through Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, with one of his daughters, visit Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack
A woman reacts in front of a wall of messages in Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack, in central London
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Millwall fan and London Bridge hero Roy Larner on 'Good Morning Britain'
Richard Arnold, Roy Larner, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on 'Good Morning Britain'
14/17 11 June 2017
England players celebrate after defeating Venezuela 1-0 to win the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea 2017 at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
15/17 11 June 2017
England players celebrate with the trophy after the final match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 between Venezuela and England at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
16/17 11 June 2017
Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee celebrates winning the Elite Men Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds
Danny Lawson/PA Wire
17/17 11 June 2017
Two men drink beer outside the Southwark Tavern which reopened for business today next to an entrance to Borough Market which remains closed in London
Under the government’s proposals, councils would be given the power to allow shops to stay open longer if they think there is local demand.
David Cameron’s spokeswoman said yesterday: “We think this is a way to enhance the ability of communities to support their high streets to deal with some of the pressures that they face from the online market that we have these days and where we haven't updated Sunday trading rules to reflect that.”
But Tory rebels insist there is no need for the move, arguing it would undermine family life as workers come under pressure to work on Sunday. They have been predicting for several weeks that the Government would be defeated on the issue unless it makes significant concessions.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has warned that the proposals could lead the way to a full “seven-day society”. He said: “If we march through those lobbies together tomorrow with a group of Conservatives who share our views - we will win and we'll keep Sundays as a different day - it's worth fighting for.”Reuse content