// Group of Conservative MPs prepare to defend Sunday trading laws
// Prime Minister says plans to lift Sunday restrictions are “under review”
The Prime Minister has said plans to extend Sunday opening hours for shops are “under review” as a group of at least 50 Conservative MPs prepare to rebel over the proposal.
Boris Johnson is still considering whether to allow shops to trade for longer on Sundays by relaxing current restrictions for retailers open on the last day of the week.
The plans aim to boost the economy and help struggling retailers who have been impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus in the UK.
It’s thought legislation to suspend Sunday trading laws for one year would be part of a coronavirus recovery bill to be introduced by the government this week.
Writing to Johnson, a group of seven Conservative MPs have warned him against the move.
“We stand squarely behind your ambition to stimulate economic growth and revitalise British high streets, but removing Sunday trading hours will not achieve this,” said the statement, signed by Fiona Bruce, David Amess, William Wragg, Martin Vickers, David Jones, Andrew Selous and Bob Blackman.
“It will harm local shops and high streets by displacing trade to large out of town retail parks and supermarkets… Sunday represents an important common day of rest, where families and communities can spend time together.
“Sunday is an especially important day for the millions of retail key workers that have been on the frontline during the nation’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, feeding the nation and delivering for their local communities.”
According to the group, more than 50 Conservative MPs in total are “opposed to these plans and have expressed this directly to us or to their constituents”.
“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,” an official spokesperson for the Prime Minister said.
Sunday trading laws were introduced under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, which limits shops with retail space over 280 square metres to a maximum of six hours of trading.
Former PM David Cameron’s attempt to abolish Sunday trading laws in 2016 failed after 27 Tory MPs rebelled.