Former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe has urged Christian opponents of equal marriage to stage street protests – something which has already become synonymous with the equal marriage debate in France.

In January, around 340,000 same-sex marriage opponents took part in a rally in Paris; however, similar large-scale marches in support of France’s pending equal marriage bill have also taken place in recent months as well.

Speaking to students at the University of Plymouth, Ms Widdecombe complained that Christian opponents had failed to get their message across in order to change the government’s equal marriage plans for England and Wales.

She said: “Over 200,000 people marched on the streets of London when Labour wanted to bring in the fox hunting ban – how come there wasn’t that kind of reaction speaking out for our religious freedom?

“If we actually saw 100,000 Christians on the streets protesting like other organisations do then you might actually see us being listened to.

“The reason why governments keep on producing legislation which impacts heavily on Christians is because they do not think we matter very much.”

The Plymouth Herald reports Ms Widdecombe also warned that Christian registrars could be forced from their jobs in the future for not complying with the government’s same-sex marriage bill.

Giving evidence last week to a committee of MPs that are studying the (Marriage Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission declared that although religious institutions are likely to face no legal sanctions for refusing to marry gay couples, public registrars, who perform civil partnerships and marriages on behalf of the state are expected to comply fully with the new legislation.

Ms Widdecombe also claimed that some of the 126 Conservative MPs who voted for the bill in this month’s vote only did so to show loyalty to Prime Minister David Cameron.

“I know of a few that disagreed with gay marriage but voted for it so they could show their support for David Cameron.

“I am very sad that it is a Conservative-led government driving this legislation through but it is also true that the objections have come mainly from within the Conservative Party and there has certainly been a huge backlash in the grassroots of the party.

“This is Cameron’s personal campaign – I know that.”

During last year’s Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Ms Widdecombe attended a fringe rally by the anti-gay Coalition for Marriage.

At the same event, Lord Carey, the ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, accused politicians of plundering “the institution of marriage.”