The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is urging c-store retailers to enlist the help of their local MPs to oppose any changes to the Sunday trading laws.

ACS aims to put maximum pressure on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which is currently reviewing the Sunday trading regime following lobbying by big retailers such as Asda who want to extend the hours stores over 3,000 sq ft are able to trade on a Sunday.

Last month a poll commissioned by Convenience Store and the ACS showed that 68% of shoppers did not want big stores to open longer hours on Sundays (C-Store, December 2). A poll by shopworkers’ union Usdaw produced similar results, and Tamworth MP Brian Jenkins has since tabled a parliamentary Early Day Motion, which has attracted more than 150 signatures across all parties, opposing further deregulation of Sunday trading.

Campaigners seeking to retain the status quo are also trying to instigate an adjournment debate on the issue in the House of Commons.

The ACS’s 160 ‘Campaign Champions’ have written to their local MPs asking them to sign the motion - EDM 1085 - and to take up the issue personally with DTI Secretary of State Alan Johnson.

ACS chief executive David Rae said: “This, more than any other issue, is one that is decided by individual MPs who will vote to reflect their own views and those of their constituents rather than the party line. Therefore, it is of critical importance to lobby at local level and this is something our Campaign Champions play a vital role in.”

Kishor Patel, a Campaign Champion and independent retailer from Bedfordshire, said: “The current Sunday trading restrictions are really important for my store, and any changes to these could have a negative impact on my business. By making our voices heard now we can push to maintain the current trading hours.”