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Media captionThe moment MPs rejected changes to Sunday trading laws

Plans to overhaul Sunday trading laws in England and Wales have been dropped after they were rejected by MPs.

The Commons opposed proposals to allow councils to extend opening hours by 317 votes to 286, as 27 Tories rebelled.

Ministers had sought to limit the rebellion by promising to trial the changes in 12 areas but said afterwards they would respect MPs’ views.

Critics of the plans said they would “chip away” at Sunday’s special status and put undue pressure on workers.

It is the Conservative government’s second defeat in the House of Commons since it was elected last May.

‘Tawdry’

The government had hoped to relax existing restrictions on Sunday trading, which limit large shops to opening for a maximum of six hours, by devolving responsibility to local councils. But their plans were thwarted by an unlikely alliance of Labour, the SNP and Conservative backbenchers.


List of Conservative MPs who voted against the government

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption At the moment stores over a certain size are limited to opening for a maximum of six hours
  • Heidi Allen
  • Caroline Ansell
  • Bob Blackman
  • Fiona Bruce
  • David Burrowes
  • Maria Caulfield
  • Christopher Chope
  • Nadine Dorries
  • Steve Double
  • James Gray
  • Chris Green
  • Gordon Henderson
  • Gerald Howarth
  • Stewart Jackson
  • Ranil Jayawardena
  • David Jones
  • Jeremy Lefroy
  • Edward Leigh
  • Julian Lewis
  • Karl McCartney
  • Andrew Rosindell
  • Derek Thomas
  • Andrew Turner
  • Martin Vickers
  • William Wragg
  • Peter Bone (teller)
  • Philip Hollobone (teller)

Before the vote, ministers indicated they would seek to amend their proposals in the House of Lords if MPs approved them in principle. But while blaming the SNP for the defeat, ministers conceded afterwards the plans would not be resurrected.

“We respect the view of the House of Parliament. The Commons has spoken and given a very clear view – we have to absolutely respect that,” said the planning minister Brandon Lewis.

‘Dead hand’

In the biggest proposed shake-up for 20 years, ministers wanted to give the 353 councils in England and 22 in Wales the freedom to determine opening hours for large shops in their area.

During a three-hour debate, a succession of Conservative MPs spoke out against the changes – first announced by Mr Osborne in last year’s Budget – and the way they were being introduced.


Analysis by the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg

The reason the government lost by such a margin was not just because of staunch opposition from the Labour Party with its ‘Keep Sunday Special’ campaign, or the principled opposition from many Tory MPs who believe fervently that Sundays are indeed special and should be protected.

The government also lost because the SNP objected to their plans, even though in Scotland shops have opened for longer on Sundays for many years.

It is an embarrassing defeat for the government and particularly George Osborne, who must deliver the Budget a week today. But the SNP’s involvement could have a longer term impact. Read more from Laura


Sir Gerald Howarth said the late offer of concessions had been “shambolic” and looked like they had been “delivered by lastminute.com” while Stewart Jackson said the “dead hand” of the Treasury was responsible for an “egregious and unnecessary confrontation” with Tory backbenchers.

Conservative MP David Burrowes, who tabled the successful rebel amendment, said the government had not made the economic case for such sweeping changes, which he said were opposed by businesses of all sizes, shop workers and faith groups.

Speaking after the vote, he told BBC News of his “relief”, adding: “The main thing out there is relief for shop workers, families and businesses who will really be pleased today.”

Labour said the government’s approach had been “tawdry” and the House of Commons had spoken clearly on the “contentious issue”.

The Federation of Small Businesses said the outcome was a “major win” for its members.

“Our members have been unconvinced of the economic case for relaxing Sunday trading rules and there has been no impact assessment to support the proposals,” said the group’s policy director, Mike Cherry.

“The current system can be seen as a great British compromise which allows families to spend time together, employees to work if they wish to, and provides much needed support for smaller retailers within their communities.”

The proposed changes were not covered by new English Votes for English Laws provisions, which require the explicit consent of English and Welsh MPs for measures exclusively affecting them, because other parts of the Enterprise Bill apply to Scotland.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35768674

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Blizzard is investigating accusations of large-scale cheating in China’s Hearthstone community, both on the in-game ladder and in offline tournaments.

The allegations, brought to light by senior members of the Chinese Hearthstone community and published last week by GosuGamers, claimed that over a dozen top Chinese players were involved, including TongFu’s “FengFengFeng” and five members of Team PanicToDeath.

According to the screenshots provided to both GosuGamers and the Daily Dot, these players are boosting other players to high legend rankings for a fee, using wintrading to achieve the ranks. The services are openly advertised on Taobao, an online marketplace operated by Alibaba.

The screenshots also included conversations about paying other players to throw games in Gold Series Opensthe official Blizzard tournaments that are part of the qualification process for the World Championship.

After the story was published, Blizzard told the Daily Dot that it was investigating the accusations.

“Win trading is a bannable offense,” a Blizzard spokesperson told the Daily Dot. “It affects the integrity of the game experience and undermines the spirit of fair play … We’re aware of the reports from China and are currently investigating.”

Instatement,NetEase, the company responsible for administering the Gold Series tournaments, accused GosuGamers of bias against the Chinese Hearthstone scene and criticized the source who shared the information for “mixing truth with lies.” The statement’s author, NetEase marketing director Zhang Dong, said that while the company would look into the accusations, it would be very difficult to take any action. The author of the GosuGamers piece, meanwhile, has reportedly received death threats since publishing.

Image via Blizzard

Read more: http://www.dailydot.com/esports/blizzard-china-hearthstone-wintrading/

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(CNN)Trading punches. Watching ripples. Remembering a legend. It’s Thursday, and here are the 5 things you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

1. Campaign 2016

The gloves are officially off, at least on the Democratic side of this wacky nomination race. Yesterday Team Sanders and Team Clinton traded body blows, with Sanders saying Clinton wasn’t “qualified” to be president, you know with her accepting that Wall Street money and all. Earlier in the day Clinton wondered out loud if Sanders was even a Democrat, much less “ready to be president,” since he kind of bombed in an interview with a media outlet last weekend. And to think we always considered this match-up the more civil of the two.

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