According to the Independent, Nick Clegg’s former director of strategy disagrees with the decision of his former boss to apologise for appearing to brand equal marriage opponents as “bigots”.

Last week, the Lib Dem leader wrote a formal letter of apology to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster over claims he was prepared to use the word in a speech at an LGBT reception that took place earlier this month in central London.

Peter Bone, the anti-equal marriage Conservative MP for Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, had called on Mr Clegg to apologise or resign over the row.

In a letter addressed to both of the Anglican and Catholic leaders, Mr Clegg wrote:

“Those extracts were neither written or approved by me. They do not represent my views, which is why they were subsequently withdrawn.

“While I am a committed advocate of equal marriage, I would never refer to people who oppose it in this way”.

Richard Reeves, until this summer Nick Clegg’s director of strategy who helped draw up the coalition’s equal marriage proposals, wrote in the New Statesman:

“In the end, the only reason to deny a gay couple the right to marry is a belief that their relationship is in some way inferior to a heterosexual one. That’s bigotry.”

Mr Reeves added: “I have no doubt that the opponents of same-sex marriages will be seen, in fairly short historical order, in the same light as those who opposed mixed-race marriages.”

He also said the government needed to “stand up to the forces of conservatism”.