Sunday trading vote postponed after Christian MPs threaten rebellion

A vote on extending Sunday Trading hours has been postponed by the Government after threats of a rebellion were raised by a number of Conservative MPs.

Government plans to devolve decision making on Sunday Trading would allow large stores such as Selfridge's to open all day on Sunday.Reuters

More than 20 Tory MPs led by David Burrowes, a Christian, had threatened to vote against the new measure, which was not in the Conservatives' election manifesto.

The secretary of state for communities and local government, Greg Clark, met with the potential rebels on Monday to try and persuade them to vote with the government. However the vote has been dropped as discussion with the group, which contains a number of other Christian MPs, continues.

Under current legislation, only smaller shops are allowed to open for more than six hours on a Sunday. However the government began a consultation this summer over plan to let local authorities decide the Sunday trading regulations in their area.

The proposals mean that larger stores could be allowed to open all day on Sunday, akin to any other day of the week.

The Church of England is one of a number of organisations to oppose the plans.

"We believe that proposals to extend Sunday shopping hours are directly contradictory to the Government's desire to build more resilient local communities and to encourage social capital to take the place of the state in creating good neighbourhoods," the Church's response read.

"It runs counter to the whole philosophy of The Big Society which the Prime Minister championed.

Labour have also voiced their opposition to the move which has been criticised by a number of trade unions.

"I'm not in favour of relaxing Sunday trading laws," said Jeremy Corbyn during the leadership campaign.

"Sunday should be a different day, especially for shop workers who need a break."