A backbench Conservative MP has expressed concern that polygamous gay men or lesbians will be able to move to the UK and claim multiple benefits.

David Davies told the Daily Mail that current provision which allows Muslims with more than one spouse to claim benefits for additional wives is unacceptable.

The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed that such arrangements have been in place for some time.

Only people who move to the UK with more than one wife from a country where polygamy is legal are eligible. Bigamy is a serious offence in the UK.

Mr Davies, The MP for Monmouth, believes this provision extends to gay people, presumably moving to the UK from one of the handful of states where polygamy is legal.

“Mr Davies warned that human rights laws and equality regulations could open the door for gays to demand similar recognition for multiple partnerships, with groups of men or women presenting themselves as polygamous ‘families'” said the Mail.

Stonewall’s head of public and parliamentary affairs, Alan Wardle, commented:

“Once again Mr Davies seems to be confused about gay matters.

“The Civil Partnerships law does not allow multiple marriages. The countries where polygamy is legal, homosexuality is illegal.”

The practice of taking more than one wife is only legally possible in some traditional Muslim states, such as Saudi Arabia. Secular Muslim states such as Tunisia and Turkey ban the practice.

In all countries that have legalised gay marriage or any other form of same-sex recognition, polygamy is illegal.

Under the Civil Partnership Act it is illegal to be married and enter into a partnership.