A spokesman for David Cameron has rejected claims made by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond that too much parliamentary time is being spent on equal marriage.

Last night Mr Hammond told BBC1’s Question Time: “There was no huge demand for this and we didn’t need to spend a lot of parliamentary time and upset vast numbers of people in order to do this.

“I have just never felt that this is what we should be focusing on. This change does redefine marriage. For millions and millions of people who are married, the meaning of marriage changes.

“There is a real sense of anger among many people who are married that any government thinks it has the ability to change the definition of an institution like marriage.”

On Friday a spokesman for David Cameron rejected the claim that too much time had been spent on the issue.

He said: “The prime minister thinks that the right process is being followed. The government has set out the legislative programme and it is the right one.

“The prime minister’s position is that he is a big believer in marriage, that’s why he thinks gay people should be able to get married too.”

On Thursday evening PinkNews.co.uk revealed that the government intends to review the future of civil partnerships exactly five years from the point when the same-sex marriage bill comes into law.

The review has been tabled by the government as an amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which will reach its report stage in the House of Commons next week.