The Prime Minister has told a committee of senior MPs that Roman Catholic-run adoption agencies can find a way through the row over gay adoption.
Speaking to the Commons liaison committee, Mr Blair said he hoped that the religious agencies would form “consortiums” with secular agencies to provide a “gateway” for all potential adoptive parents to access adoption services.
The committee, made up of the chairs of all the other Commons select committees, met with the Prime Minister for nearly three hours this morning.
Mr Blair told the assembled MPs that he thought it would be a tragedy if the Catholic adoption agencies had to close but said there could be no excuses for discrimination.
“I think if people are sensible about it, we can find a way through it.
“It may be by having consortiums, for example, that would allow people to… there would then be a gateway into adoption which would allow this issue to be taken care of,” Mr Blair said, according to the Daily Mail.
Last week the Prime Minister announced that despite the calls for an opt-out from senior Roman Catholic clergy, there would be no exemption for church-run adoption agencies from the new Sexual Orientation Regulations.
The regulations, which are due to be published soon, outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation when accessing goods and services.
Mr Blair did grant the church-run agencies a grace period until the end of 2008 to adapt to the new gay rights laws.
The Roman Catholic Cardinal of England and Wales, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, had threatened to shut them down rather than consider gay couples as potential adopters.
Mr Blair, who attends Mass regularly and is rumoured to be considering converting to Catholicism, said that faith is a good thing, and told MPs that he wanted to avoid, “a situation where people who do have a religious faith feel in any sense that they are being shut out of either the political system or being able to provide a great service for people in a faith-based way.”
The Prime Minister also made it clear he is not thinking of resigning imminently, and told the committee he expects to attend the G8 and EU summits in June.