A key vote by MPs on whether to scrap the controversial 10pm hospitality curfew will not take place tomorrow (7 October).
It comes amid reports of a major Conservative rebellion with ‘dozens' of Tories set to defy the government to overturn the restrictions in a vote originally planned for Wednesday.
But the offices of two rebel MPs told The Caterer the vote was not going ahead tomorrow, with one suggesting it is now expected to take place next week.
HuffPost UK reports that Downing Street has also confirmed the change in date.
Labour has yet to confirm whether it will support the curfew but has questioned its scientific basis. If the party opposes the motion rebel Tories told The Telegraphthey could muster the 43 votes required to overturn the government majority.
Backlash against the curfew is building and a legal challenge has been launched demanding the release of the scientific advice behind the cut-off time.
A Caterer survey found 65% of hospitality operators feared they would be unable to sustain their business longer than six months with trade limited by the blanket closing time.
MPs will vote tonight (6 October) on the rule of six, which has prevented social gatherings of more than six people from different households since 14 September.
A government spokesperson told The Caterer: "Our measures strike a balance between saving lives by protecting our NHS and the most vulnerable and minimising the wider impact on the economy and schools.
"The latest data suggests a considerable rise in the infection rate following people socialising in hospitality venues serving alcohol in recent weeks, so we have taken immediate action to cut the transmission rate and save lives and will keep all measures under constant review.
"The 10pm closure allows people to continue to socialise while reducing the risk of failing to socially distance."
The Caterer has launched a petition calling on the government to scrap the curfew. To sign click here.