George Osborne’s support for equal marriage is “foolish” and resembles a “political football” says the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, believes the issue has become a “political football” and declared: “This is not simply a redefining of marriage to accommodate a few – it is a redefining of marriage for everyone and therefore all marriages”.

Archbishop Nichols’ comments were reported in the Telegraph over the weekend, the same paper that accused the chancellor of playing a “dangerous game” in his support of marriage reform in an editorial published last Wednesday.

It was after Mr Osborne claimed that the Tories risked defeat if they dropped their pledge to legalise same-sex marriages before the 2015 general election.

In response, Archbishop Nichols said: “My own sense is that many people feel deeply uneasy about this move, it was not in any election manifesto, it has not in that sense been put to the country.

“That is why the strength of opinion expressed in the consultation ought not to be hidden and that’s why we want the full disclosure of the results of that consultation.”

A commitment towards equal marriage in the Conservatives’ Contract for Equalities was published before the 2010 election.

The government is due to issue its formal response to this year’s equal marriage consultation before Christmas.

In May of this year, Archbishop Nichols warned of “damaging consequences” to society, and of severing the bonds which bring it together, if equal marriage was introduced in the UK.