Conservative MP Mike Freer has received warm praise on Twitter for delivering a heartfelt speech in support of marriage equality in the House of Commons.

The MP, who represents Margaret Thatcher’s old London constituency of Finchley and Golders Green, has taken part in this afternoon’s debate of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples Bill).

MPs will vote on the bill at 7pm this evening.

Mr Freer said that entering into a civil partnership with his long-term partner was one of the proudest days of his life.

“I thought long and hard about seeking to speak in this debate. I genuinely feared the tone of the debate and how colleagues would seek to oppose the bill.

“So when colleagues talked about gay marriage making them physically sick – or when colleagues suggested it was a step towards legalising polygamy or incest [interruption]”

“They need to remember that they’re people involved – people’s lives are involved – and we should remember that the words spoken in this chamber hurt far beyond this chamber when we speak.

“Mr Deputy Speaker, when I was elected to this House in May 2012 it was perhaps the proudest day of my life… I should point out actually it was the second proudest day of my life, because the proudest day was when I entered into my civil partnership, which I did six years ago, with my partner of 21 years.”

Mr Freer continued: “Our civil partnership was a huge step forward for us, and yet many argue that we should be content with our civil partnership – after all it affords all of the same legal protections as marriage – but I ask my married colleagues, did you get married for legal protections it afforded you?

“Did you go down on one knee and say ‘darling, please give me the protections marriage affords us?

“Of course you didn’t. My civil partnership was our way of saying to my friends and my family this is who I love, this is who I am, this is who I wish to spend the rest of my life with.”

Mr Freer added: “I’m not asking for special treatment I am simply asking for equal treatment.”

The MP then praised David Cameron for sticking with the policy in the face of stiff opposition from much of his party.

“Sometimes, leadership is about doing what is right not what is popular and I congratulate the prime minister on leading on this,” the MP said.