SHOPWORKERS are a step closer to securing a change in the law to stop large stores opening on Christmas Day.
An MP backing the shopworkers' campaign to keep Christmas Day special has vowed to table a Bill in the next session of Parliament.
Kevan Jones, MP for Durham North, has been drawn sixth out of 20 MPs to be allowed to introduce a Private Members' Bill in 2003-2004.
He said he would introduce a Bill to ban larger stores from opening on Christmas Day.
That would close a loophole in the law which allows stores with a floor area of greater than 280sq metres - the size of a tennis court - to open on Christmas Day unless it falls on a Sunday.
The new law will apply to many retail businesses including supermarkets, DIY stores, department stores and garden centres.
The MP's backing was welcomed by Sir Bill Connor, general secretary of shopworkers' union Usdaw.
He said: "Although not many larger stores have opened on Christmas Day, shopworkers genuinely fear that it is only a matter of time before it becomes commonplace.
"Usdaw members work extremely hard and under great pressure in the run-up to Christmas.
"Legislation is essential to prevent large stores opening and guarantee that shopworkers can spend Christmas Day with their families."