Second Church Estates Commissioner urges Government to resist liberalisation of Sunday trading rules

On 19th June 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioners, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, spoke during the weekly debate on the Business of the House. In his brief remarks, he called on the Government to resist amendments to the Deregulation Bill (debated 23rd June) that would deregulate Sunday trading. The Leader of the House of Commons gave assurances that the Government does not support a change in the Sunday trading rules.

14.01 CCQ BaldrySir Tony Baldry (Banbury): Next Monday, the House will debate the Report stage and Third Reading of the Deregulation Bill. My right hon. Friend will have noted that our hon. Friends the Members for Shipley (Philip Davies) and for Bury North (Mr Nuttall) have tabled a number of new clauses which, if passed, would completely deregulate Sunday trading. I must tell my right hon. Friend that any such move by the House would be seen by the Church of England—and, I am sure, by many other faith groups—as an act of bad faith on the part of Parliament. The present Sunday trading arrangements arose from a series of compromises that were agreed in the mid-1990s to strike a balance between keeping Sunday special and enabling more stores and shops to open on Sundays. I should welcome my right hon. Friend’s reassurance that if you, Mr Speaker, select any of the new clauses for debate, they will be resisted by the Government.

Mr Lansley: I am happy to say that my right hon. Friend the Deputy Leader of the House would respond on behalf of the Government if the new clauses were to be debated. I can reassure my right hon. Friend that the Government believe that the current position constitutes a reasonable balance between some people’s wish for more opportunities to shop in large stores on Sundays and the desire of others for further restrictions, and that we are therefore not minded to legislate for further liberalisation.