Sunday opening hours for garden centres will be kept "under constant review", trade minister Lord Jones of Birmingham said as he responded to a backbench call for liberalisation.

They are currently restricted, along with large shops of more than 280 square metres floorspace, to six hours between 10am and 6pm. Smaller shops are allowed, under the Sunday Trading Act 1994, to open all hours.

The Earl of Courtown, a landscape contractor, wanted councils to have the power to extend the Sunday opening hours of garden centres to eight hours between 9am and 7pm and to let them open on Easter Sunday.

Lord Jones, responding to the Lord Courtown's Sunday Trading (Horticulture) Bill, told him: "I can assure you that it's not 'No, never.' The door will always be open to creative ideas on this subject and it is under constant review."

But the minister noted during the Bill's second reading debate that, following an extensive consultation, the then trade and industry secretary - now Chancellor - Alastair Darling had last year ruled out any changes to the Sunday trading laws.

The Bill gained an unopposed second reading but, without Government support, it will not become law.