14 March 2016 - Janet Bird
Government plans to relax Sunday trading laws were defeated in the Commons last week, after Tory dissidents joined forces with the SNP and Labour to vote against the proposals.
The defeat, by 317 votes to 286, came despite a report released by the Business Department which predicted the UK could have generated an extra £1.5 billion over ten years if the amendments had been passed.
Over 100 council leaders in England had also come out in support of the Government's plans, which could have devolved decisions on Sunday trading hours to local authorities.
But the proposals faced strong opposition from Church leaders and Keep Sunday Special campaigners.
Many critics argued that extending Sunday trading hours would primarily benefit large out of town shopping centres at the expense of the high street. Others simply felt Sunday should be kept special for family time and religious purposes.