Government plans to radically overhaul Sunday trading laws have been abandoned after they were rejected by MPs during a House of Commons vote on the matter.
MPs opposed Chancellor George Osborne’s proposals, with the final numbers revealing that 317 voted against the changes, compared to a figure of 286 who were in favour of implementing the alterations. 27 Conservative MPs rebelled against the plans.
The decision was reached following a Commons debate, during which amendments to the plans were put forward. These outlined the introduction of a trial of the scheme in 12 areas of England and Wales.
Critics of the plans, however, argued that Sundays should be ‘kept special’ and should be reserved for family time for shop workers.
The Government had planned to devolve Sunday trading laws to local councils in England and Wales, which would have provided authorities with the power to ‘zone’ any relaxation.
The move would have permitted struggling high streets to remain open for longer on Sundays, allowing retailers to compete with online competitors.
However, the plans were impeded by a Labour, Scottish National Party (SNP) and Conservative backbencher alliance.
Brandon Lewis MP stated: ‘We respect the view of the House of Parliament. The Commons has spoken and given a very clear view – we have to absolutely respect that’.
Sunday trading is already devolved in Scotland, meaning that Scottish high streets do not face the same limits as English and Welsh retailers.