Following a meeting with community religious leaders, Conservative MP John Stevenson says he remains opposed to equal marriage.

The Carlisle MP said that in a recent survey carried out by his office, around 80% of those who responded said they didn’t want the introduction of same-sex marriages, a view he shares.

Mr Stevenson told ITV News that gay couples already have all of the same legal rights as heterosexuals through civil partnerships.

“I do actually think they have got the same rights in terms of the legal position for instance on tax and inheritance and other matters that relate to people who are in a legally binding relationship.

“And if you are of the same sex its called civil partnership; if you are a man and woman it’s called marriage.

“So I actually think they are being treated equally.”

The MP added: “I fully support civil partnerships but I also fully support the institution of marriage”

The government is expected to introduce its equal marriage bill for England and Wales later this month.