Government last night forced through Bill to allow shops to stay open later during Olympics


Usdaw has vowed to fight any further deregulation of Sunday trading laws after MPS voted to  allow shops to remain open longer during the Olympics.

The Tory-led coalition last night forced through emergency legislation to suspend the Sunday trading laws in England and Wales for eight weeks from 22 July.

Usdaw is angry MPs voted through The Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Bill after just nine hours’ consideration and debate in both the House of Commons and House of Lords and that, in a break with the convention that MPs have a free vote on the issue of Sunday trading, Coalition MPs were subject to a three-line whip, meaning all Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs were compelled to back the Bill.

The union said the government’s decision to deny its MPs a free vote reflected the shambolic way the issue had been handled and the failure of the government to make a convincing case for the suspension.

General secretary John Hannett said: “The government again failed to make a coherent and convincing case for the Bill and it became clear during last night’s debate that only a handful of large commercial interests who would prefer a permanent deregulation of Sunday trading backed the temporary suspension.”

“The vast majority of shopworkers are against longer Sunday opening hours and they will be bitterly disappointed by the vote. Thousands of our members contacted their MP to ask them to vote against this Bill and they will feel let down by the many MPs who failed to recognise the importance of shopworkers having time off with their families.”

“While the government has said this Bill is only a temporary measure, Usdaw will monitor the situation very closely and we will campaign hard against any further deregulation should the Coalition fail to live up to its commitment.”

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