Canada will hold a free vote in Parliament later to this year, the prime minister announced today.

The Canadian Parliament will decide whether to scrap gay marriage laws which were adopted last year.

Stephen Harper came to power last January campaigning to reopen the debate on laws governing same sex partnerships in the country.

Mr Harper said: “It will be a free vote and the vote will be in the autumn,”

However many of his cabinet members appeared to be losing enthusiasm for the vote earlier this week.

The change in the law would constitutionally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The gay marriage law was brought in by the outgoing Liberals.

Both supporters and opponents say any vote would be very tight, especially since he does not control a majority of the 308 seats in the House of Commons.