By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
George Osborne was dealt another bitter blow as he was defeated in his attempts to extend Sunday trading hours.
MPs voted to take the policy initiative from the Enterprise Bill. He was blocked by the SNP and 26 Tory rebels. This left the Government losing by a majority of 31.
Noting the major changes to businesses and many online services that are now available 27/7 like banking, shopping and even online forex trading platforms, his attempt to introduce a plan to allow large supermarkets to stay open longer on Sundays was stripped out of the Enterprise bill
The Government were so desperate to avoid humiliation in the vote that even Chatham MP Tracey Crouch, who gave birth just two weeks ago, walked through the lobby, with her newborn son Freddie strapped to her chest.
This will increase the pressure on the Chancellor and the PM who have suffered relentless attacks by their own party since they both began their fight to keep Britain in the EU. It is looking highly unlikely the Chancellor will become a future PM, as his own side has viciously turned against him.
It is reported the PM even held one-to-one meetings to attempt to quell the mutiny in his ranks, but is seems to have made little difference.
Osborne also made a last-ditch attempt to defuse the row by tabling an amendment which would soften the plan, with a series of pilot schemes across the UK, but John Bercow, the speaker, through it out.
317 MPs voted against extending Sunday trading hours, with 286 members voting with the Government.
The defeat was sealed after SNP MPs decided to oppose it at the last minute, well into the night.
After the vote, Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle called on George Osborne to confirm he would “abandon their tawdry attempts, and respect the will of this house?”