Industry associations on both sides of the Sunday trading debate are battling to gain support from MPs, less than a month before the DTI's consultation over a relaxation of Sunday trading hours ends.
Shopworkers' union Usdaw is celebrating after 220 MPs signed up to its Early Day Motion opposing any extension to Sunday trading hours.
The motion, put forward in November, says extended hours would have a detrimental impact on shopworkers, and police, as well as security, distribution, transport, health, and catering staff.
Brian Jenkins, Labour MP for Tamworth, Staffordshire, who tabled the motion, said: "Independent local shops are the lifeblood of the community and I want them to stay that way. Supermarkets may offer goods a little cheaper, but they do not have the all-round value of the small local shop. I do not want to live in a society that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing - and that is what is at risk."
Tom Brake, Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington, who was one of the 220 MPs to sign the motion, said: "If the laws are relaxed, I think many staff will be under even greater pressure to work on a Sunday. For many families, Sunday is the only day they can be together."
However, David Ramsden, chairman of pro-Sunday trading lobby group Deregulate, said: "Early Day Motions have no standing in parliament. In some ways they are a petition and only give an indication of how MPs may feel on a subject."
Ramsden recently held a meeting with MPs to discuss Sunday trading laws and as a result would soon be distributing a briefing document to all MPs so that they had "the actual facts rather than the emotion" of the argument.
"There is a lot of emotion but very little facts about Sunday trading. It is an argument that has to be divided from large supermarkets and c-stores as it affects the whole retail industry and not just grocery," he said.
The facts for the briefing document will be taken from Deregulate's response to the DTI's consultation, submitted last week. These include the number of new jobs that extended hours could create and that students aged 18-25 rather than workers with families were more likely to work on a Sunday.
Beth Brooks