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Wed, 23 September 2020

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Downing Street to keep plans to relax Sunday trading rules ‘under review’ amid revolt by Tory MPs

Downing Street to keep plans to relax Sunday trading rules ‘under review’ amid revolt by Tory MPs

Current existing Sunday trading laws allow larger stores to open for six hours (PA)

2 min read

Downing Street has said it will keep plans to relax Sunday trading rules “under review” after Tory MPs threatened to revolt over the measure.

Boris Johnson had been mulling over extending shopping times for a year to help retailers deal with the impact of the coronavirus.

But a letter seen by the Daily Telegraph claims more than 50 Conservatives would be willing to vote against any such measure and defeat it in the Commons.

Labour are suggesting as a result Number 10 has removed the policy from the upcoming Covid Bill due to be published this week.

Asked if the plan had been ditched the Prime Minister's official spokesman 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.”

He hinted that the measures would not be in the draft legislation, which “will look at new ways of working as the country recovers from the disruption caused by coronavirus and which is intended to help businesses through the summer months, in particular”.

But the spokesman told reporters they would have to wait for it to be tabled in Parliament for the full details.

The letter, signed by several senior Tories, said relaxing Sunday trading will “harm local shops and high streets by displacing trade to large out of town retail parks and supermarkets”.

And they say it will fail to achieve the PM’s “ambition to stimulate economic growth and revitalise British high streets”.

The existing regulations for England and Wales were introduced in 1994 and allow smaller shops to open all day, while larger stores are limited to operate for six hours.

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