Rob Flello, the Labour Shadow Justice Minister and MP for Stoke-on-Trent South has elaborated on why he remains opposed to equal marriage.

A member of the MP’s staff previously told a PinkNews reader that “Rob is a very religious man and does not agree with same-sex marriage taking place within a church, but is a great supporter of civil partnership.”

In an email on Monday afternoon, Mr Flello went further and told PinkNews: “My record of support for gay rights and equality for all speaks for itself. I do not believe this is an issue of equality. As a supporter of civil partnerships I was delighted that same-sex couples could have their long-term commitments formally recognised and be accorded the same legal rights as married couples.

“My faith is very important to me but this is not a question of faith. The question is whether the State should re-write the fundamental nature of marriage. Given the existing legal equality I don’t believe the State should.”

Last year, PinkNews.co.uk revealed that Labour’s decision to grant its backbenchers a free vote on equal marriage caused a major rift in the shadow cabinet with deputy leader Harriet Harman amongst those calling for the vote to be whipped.