Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Friday, 13 May 2011 15:59 UK

St George's Day and St David's Day Bill

A public holiday to mark St George's Day would bolster national unity, a Tory MP has said.

Presenting his St George's Day and St David's Day Bill to the Commons on 13 May 2011, Nadhim Zahawi said: "To many, St George's Day is a celebration of all that is great about the nation".

He rejected claims that an extra public holiday would hit the economy, claiming that sales in the shops jumped 5.2% because of the extra day off to mark the royal wedding.

Pubs and restaurants would also benefit from an additional bank holiday, which Mr Zahawi said should fall on St David's day in Wales.

Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards, who represents Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, said the bill had the support of the entire Welsh nation, while Tory Stephen Phillips said it was a bill "whose day has come".

For Labour, shadow business minister Chi Onwurah told the Commons she would not oppose the legislation, but raised concerns about the financial implication for businesses of an extra bank holiday.

Winding up the debate, Business Minister John Hayes said: "We must be mindful of cost, in particular because of the times in which we live."

But he added that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had announced plans for a consultation on moving the May Day bank holiday.

"One suggestion is that it might be moved to St George's Day or St David's Day," he told MPs.

Mr Zahawi said he would continue to push for an extra bank holiday, but welcomed the consultation before withdrawing his bill.

There was five minutes left of the private members' bill session for Tory Henry Smith to begin second reading of his Consumer Protection (Private Car Parks) Bill.

Time ran out before the debate was completed meaning it stands little chance of making further progress.

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