Commentators believe this year’s Christmas message by the prime minister is being seen as a way of trying to appease socially conservative Christians, who have been horrified by his support for equal marriage.

David Cameron directly mentioned the Bible in his Christmas Eve message.

“Christmas gives us the opportunity to remember the Christmas story – the story about the birth of Jesus Christ and the hope that he brings to the countless millions who follow him,” he said.

“The Gospel of John tells us that in this man was life, and that his life was the light of all mankind, and that he came with grace, truth and love. Indeed, God’s word reminds us that Jesus was the Prince of Peace.”

In keeping with most British prime ministers of recent times, Mr Cameron has tended to avoid prominent public displays of his faith.

In 2008, in an interview with the Guardian, he said: “I am a sort of typical member of the Church of England. As Boris Johnson once said, his religious faith is a bit like the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns: It sort of comes and goes.”

Sky News’ political correspondent John Craig said the prime minister’s decision to ‘do God’ this Christmas “does look like a move to mend the strained relations with the Church of England, many of whose bishops are furious with him over the government’s plans for gay marriage.”

However, the Archbishop of Shrewsbury, a Catholic, remains unimpressed.

The Daily Mail reports Right Reverend Mark Davies will use his midnight Christmas Mass to say marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

Earlier this month, the Bishop of Motherwell, Right Reverend Joseph Devine, condemned David Cameron for being “devoid of moral competence” after the PM stated that churches should be allowed to provide same-sex marriages.