MPs rejected changes to Sunday trading laws in a vote on the Enterprise Bill yesterday evening.
The proposals, which would have seen local councils given the power to remove Sunday trading hours in their local area, were rejected by 317 votes to 286 as MPs supported Conservative MP David Burrowes’ campaign to retain the existing laws.
Welcoming the decision, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “Today’s vote will be a welcome relief for local shop owners, who would have lost out to superstores and out of town retail parks if these measures had been passed.
“The flaws in the government’s plans have been exposed, and MPs from across the House have voted to retain our popular existing Sunday trading regulations. We encourage the government to look at measures that will actually help the high street such as business rates reform, and look forward to hearing about the Chancellor’s plans to help retailers in next week’s Budget.”
During the debate, local government minister Brandon Lewis MP attempted to promise amendments to the proposals which would have seen 12 pilot zones deregulated over the next 12 months, but this amendment was rejected twice - first by the speaker of the house and second by MPs who voted against the plans.
MPs who voted against the changes included 27 rebel Conservatives, who joined Labour and Scottish National Party MPs.
Business secretary Sajid Javid said: “It’s a very disappointing outcome. This would have made a lot of difference to a lot of businesses. I respect the views of the House, but I am extremely disappointed by the childish and hypocritical actions of the SNP.
”The majority of English and Welsh MPs wanted to see this change, and the people of England and Wales have been denied this change.”