Major supermarket chains could soon be selling alcohol around the clock - despite the fact that most pubs will stay open just one or two hours later.
Tesco and Sainsbury's want to sell alcohol in all of their 24-hour stores outside the usual licensing hours of 11am until 11pm from the Second Appointed Day in November.
Tesco said: "We fully support the aims of the Licensing Act in giving our customers the freedom to buy alcohol as part of their weekly shop, which many of our customers do throughout the night."
Sainsbury's also confirmed it would be applying for 24-hour licences for its all-night stores.
Asda said it was seriously considering the move. Spokesman Ed Watson said: "Our customers want to know why they can't buy a bottle of wine at 7am with their weekly shopping."
The supermarkets' move has angered pubs, which have been accused in the national media of planning to throw open their doors to binge-drinkers around the clock.
Christine Desborough, who runs the Friendship Inn in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Lancashire, said: "I have a huge Sainsbury's and Asda right on my door step. My takings are already down and this will only make it worse - not to mention the probable extra trouble."
Tony Payne, chief executive of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers' Associations, said: "This is exactly what we have been expecting.
"The Daily Mail has been criticising the pub trade, but the only people looking to sell alcohol for 24 hours are the supermarkets."
LACORS, the association representing local authorities, said all applications for extended licensing hours will be judged on their own merit.