Prime minister Gordon Brown will today suggest to the Speaker’s Committee that civil partnerships for gay couples should be held in parliament.

The Church of England does not recognise civil partnerships as marriages, so they cannot be held in the Chapel of St Mary in parliament.

However, Brown will suggest they could be held in other parts of parliament, such as the chapel in Westminster Hall, where MPs, peers and their families can get married.

The Speaker’s Conference looks at ways to modernise parliament, such as trying to attract more politicians who are female, disabled, gay or from ethnic minorities.

Europe minister Chris Bryant, who is gay, told PinkNews.co.uk he welcomed the move.

He said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the prime minister’s call for civil partnerships to take place in the House.

“Parliament overwhelmingly backed civil partnerships, so it would make sense for them to be allowed in the House.

“The Speaker’s Conference on diversity was the prime minister’s idea, and I think it’s an important process.”

Richard Angell, of LGBT Labour, told PinkNews.co.uk: “Gordon Brown is right to ask parliament to open itself up to civil partnerships – it is right that parliament changes with the times.

“Labour is doing more than any other party to support openly LGBT people to become MPs through Dorothy’s List which now has more than £6,000 to support openly LGBT candidates standing for Labour.

“For parliament to reflect the conservative estimate that the LGBT community is just six per cent [of the population] that would require nearly 40 lesbian and gay MPs. Only Labour can deliver equality.”