Conservative MP Mark Pritchard has called on his party to “shelve” government plans to introduce equal marriage in England and Wales because it is unlikely to attract the votes of ethnic minorities.

Writing for Politics Home the Shropshire MP commented:

“The party could also shelve its misconceived same-sex marriage plans. Apart from antagonising the Tory grassroots and traditional Conservative voters, Number 10’s decision to press ahead with a bill is likely to alienate large parts of the very same ethnic and religious groups the party says it needs to attract to win the next general election. The bill is self-defeating, divisive, and could inadvertently breed intolerance. To proceed regardless would show the Conservative Party as out of touch with many in the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and Christian communities – many of whom are Asian and Afro-Caribbean.”

He continued: “The political thinking in Number 10 might be that any political fallout from the bill will be conveniently neutralised given Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg also support same-sex marriage. This would be a miscalculation. There is only one prime minister, not three, and it is he alone, a Conservative prime minister, who will be seen as the chief architect of the bill. It is the Conservative Party who will reap the political consequences.”

Mr Pritchard also said it would be misguided if his party began fast-tracking ethnic minorities as parliamentary candidates.

The final choice of parliamentary candidates should be for Conservative Associations alone. It would be misguided if the party hierarchy were again tempted to set itself on a collision course with Conservative Associations by attempting to fast-track favoured ethnic minority candidates over equally talented white-British candidates.”

In 2005, just two Conservative MPs were from Britain’s ethnic minorities, in 2010 the figure had risen to 11.