Conservative MP Adam Afriyie, who has recently been seen by some as a future successor to David Cameron, has explained why he voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
The Windsor MP was among 136 Tory MPs to oppose the bill on Tuesday night – amounting to almost half of the party’s MPs.
Of the remaining Conservative MPs, 127 were in favour, 35 did not vote, and five registered an abstention by voting both in favour and against.
In a statement Mr Afriyie said: “I voted against the bill because it is not truly equal.
“I would like to see a single form of state recognition for all couples, but the bill unnecessarily creates two forms of legally recognised union.”
He added: “My two main concerns now are that, first, the church and other religious organisations are not coerced through the threat of litigation.
“And second, that those who wish to form same-sex civil partnerships are treated equally under the law.
“I will take a final view on the legislation once it has been closely scrutinised in committee and returns to the House of Commons.”
A self-made millionaire who grew up in Peckham, south London, Mr Afriyie was elected in 2005 for the safe Tory seat of Windsor.
Last month, he attempted to quash rumours of plotting a Tory leadership challenge by saying: “I will never stand against David Cameron. I am 100% supportive of David Cameron.”