David Cameron has told MPs he thinks there is a “strong case for change” on Sunday trading, but an increasing number in the House of Commons are opposing him.
At today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron said that allowing local authorities to choose Sunday trading hours would be the ‘modern approach’.
However, Conservative MP David Burrowes has said a “rhythm of regular rest” is vital for a healthy society.
Responding to a question from Labour MP Susan Elan Jones, Mr Cameron criticised the current situation and said legislation already going through Parliament, the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, would be used to bring forward the possibility of change.
He claimed that families “have to walk around for hours” before being “actually allowed to buy anything” at the moment.
“I think that it is time to modernise our approach, give families more choice and help create jobs at the same time”, he concluded.
The Prime Minister’s announcement comes before the Government has published its response to a recent consultation on the issue.
Writing ahead of the Prime Minister’s comments, David Burrowes challenged the economic case and said resisting the change is “an opportunity to counter the prevailing trend towards fractured families”.
In an article for the influential Conservative Home website, he said: “A shared day of rest has long been central to our life together as a nation, and is valued by our many diverse communities.”
Mr Burrowes said he hoped the Prime Minister would keep to a pre-election pledge not to change the law, but until that happened, “I, and an increasing number of colleagues, will keep up the fight to keep Sunday special”.
Paul Goodman, the Editor of Con Home, called for the Government to drop the plan, saying the idea “is inflaming backbenchers and risks losing a vote”.
‘No current plans’
Ahead of the election, the Keep Sunday Special campaign received an assurance that the Conservatives had “no current plans to relax the Sunday trading laws”.
In a letter written on behalf of David Cameron, the group was told the Party believed that the current system “provides a reasonable balance”.
However, in July Chancellor George Osborne announced that local authorities or elected mayors in England and Wales would be allowed to decide Sunday opening hours for shops in their area.