Government ditches plans to relax Sunday trading hours after Tory backbenchers revolt

(Photo: Unsplash/Mike Petrucci)

The Government has abandoned plans to extend Sunday trading hours after a revolt by dozens of Tory backbenchers.  

It follows a letter to Boris Johnson telling him "that over 50 Conservative MPs, from a range of intakes including those elected in 2019 and covering a full spectrum of views in the parliamentary party, are opposed to these plans and have expressed this directly to us or to their constituents", The Telegraph reports.

The letter was signed by Fiona Bruce MP, William Wragg MP, David Amess MP, Martin Vickers MP, David Jones MP, Andrew Selous MP and Bob Blackman MP.

Following the threat of revolt, The Telegraph reports that the Government will not be including longer Sunday trading hours rules in the Business and Planning Bill when it is introduced to Parliament later this week.

The news was welcomed by Mr Jones, who told the paper: "There are over 50 MPs who oppose it, Labour certainly would have opposed it. I think rather than being seen to do a U-turn the Government decided not to bring it on in the first place.

"This is the right thing to do. A lot of smaller shops have been a lifeline for people during the Covid-19 outbreak.

"This move would have seen trade diverted away from the local shops and it does seem a bit unnecessary to put the boot into them at this particular juncture."

Under current Sunday trading rules, small shops can open all day but larger shops are limited to trading between 10am and 6pm. 

The Government had been planning to relax the rules to help revive the economy after months of lockdown. 

A spokesman for No 10 said: "We have said we will keep measures such as extending Sunday trading hours under review as they can support shops with social distancing and allow shoppers to buy food and other items more conveniently."

Christian Concern, which had criticised any changes to Sunday trading, said the U-turn was "good news".