The government was finally defeated in its plans to amend Sunday trading laws when Tory dissidents joined forces with Labour and the SNP.
They key vote was lost 317 to 286, despite attempts by Prime Minister David Cameron to convince backbenchers and reach a compromise.
Around the same time, the Business Department released an official report on the potential impact of Sunday trading amendments, finding that the UK could have generated an extra £1.5bn or more over 10 years. That is £29 per household, as retailers would be likely to pass on savings to customers in order to attract them to large stores.
Communities Minister Brandon Lewis revealed details of a new concession; a year-long pilot scheme that will invite local authorities to apply for places. 12 locations “geographically, economically and demographically diverse” locations will be chosen as testing grounds for Sunday trading liberalisation.
Many criticised the SNP for their part in the government’s defeat. Similar laws already exist in Scotland, leading ministers to accuse the SNP of hypocrisy.
“I am extremely disappointed by the childish and hypocritical actions of the SNP,” said Business Secretary Sajid Javid.
“It was denied because of the SNP. The only thing the SNP was interested in today was headlines.”
Javid insisted that the majority of MPs in England and Wales had supported the change.