Local shops are urging their MPs to vote down proposals to liberalise Sunday Trading rules across England and Wales.

Government MPs will be subjected to a three line whip, meaning that Party leaders require MPs to take part in the debate and vote in favour of the Bill and against Opposition amendments.

The Opposition will impose no whip on their MPs, many of whom have already spoken out against the proposals and pledged to oppose the Bill.

This is the first time that a Sunday Trading issue has not been a free vote, where MPs are allowed to decide for themselves which way to vote.

James Lowman, ACS chief executive said: “It is very disappointing that the government’s MPs will be forced to vote for this measure even though many of them are likely to have grave reservations. To take this action shows just how little confidence Ministers have in the evidence they have presented.

“This is the latest development in a chaotic process that has seen government present weak and unconvincing evidence at the last minute.

“MPs have received thousands of representation setting out just how damaging this measure is in its effect on local shops. We urge MPs to reject these proposals today.”

Lowman’s comments come after last week ACS criticised Ministers for presenting an Impact Assessment to the House of Lords less than 24 hours before Peers were given their only opportunities to vote on the measure. Treasury Minister, Lord Sassoon admitted that it was “not up to the standards that would be required for Bills that have permanent effect”.

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