Mariano Rajoy has said that moving Spain back to Greenwich Mean Time would result in a "better quality of life" for Spaniards.

Spain is renowned for its late meal times - lunch at 2pm and dinner well after 9pm, when the rest of Europe sticks to midday and 7pm. But the late timings are not restricted to meal times; many Spaniards do not finish work until around 9pm, which many believe has a negative effect on their work-life balance.

Acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has pledged to do something about it and to change the clocks, putting Spain in line with Portugal, the Canary Islands and the UK on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Rajoy has promised that if he is the next prime minister, he will make sure the working day ends at 6pm by turning back the clocks in line with GMT. It would put an end to the two-hour lunch break when many Spaniards sneak in an afternoon nap, while Rajoy added that the change would "adapt to the needs of the country", with reconciling work and family life being the ultimate goal.

The move was welcomed by leaders of the opposition parties, including Ciudadanos, which included turning back the clocks in its election manifesto. The party believes that a change in time zone could increase productivity, putting an end to Spain’s culture of long working hours and with it the traditional two to three hour lunch break.

The change would make sense for Spain, which geographically lies further west than London, yet runs on the same time as the Serbian capital Belgrade, 2,500km (1,550 miles) to the east (all of Spain except for the Canary Islands, which are within GMT).

Spain has not always been on Central European Time; it followed GMT until 1942, when the Franco regime turned the clocks forward to match the time of Nazi Germany. By turning them back, Rajoy would help millions of Spaniards achieve a better work-life balance as well as finally getting rid of a 70-year-old Francoist legacy.