Seller's pack legislation could be dropped if it fails to navigate its way through fierce opposition from the House of Lords and Tory MPs before the general election.
The legislation had its second reading in the Lords last week, where it came under fire from peers who slammed the pilot trial for the packs as “a useless waste of time and a complete disaster”.
Already behind schedule, the bill could run out of time as it is understood that Conservative MPs plan to oppose its fast return to the Commons where it would become law.
If the bill does not gain Royal Assent in the Commons before a general election it could disappear, with some political commentators believing the chances of it being revived are minimal even if Labour were to win a second term.
The bill is currently awaiting a slot in the Lords where it will go through the committee stage, a process expected to take weeks.
It then goes to the report stage before a third reading in the Lords, where any amendments made have to be debated in the Commons before the bill can finally become law.
Conservative peer Lord Caithness says: “The Government has realised what a mess seller's packs are and have had second thoughts about them. It is now a distinct possibility that the bill will not go through. It does not have the time.”
A Government spokeswoman says: “As far as we are concerned the bill is going through the Houses as due process requires.”