Ahead of last night’s vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, Stuart Andrew, the gay Conservative MP for Pudsey, criticised Aldershot MP Sir Gerald Howarth who warned on Monday of an “aggressive homosexuality community”.

Sir Gerald, a former Tory defence minister, made the comments during the first day of debate as part of the bill’s third reading.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons yesterday with a Commons majority of 205.

128 Conservative MPs voted against the bill, including Sir Gerald Howarth.

Stuart Andrew, a strong supporter of equal marriage, voted in favour.

Speaking in the Commons before the vote took place, Mr Andrew said: “I am not an aggressive man, but I have had the misfortune of facing aggression in a violent, physical form … In 1997, I was attacked and beaten unconscious by three men because of who and what I am.

“That had a profound effect on me at that time, but in time I fought back, and what helped were the decisions taken in this place. Through a series of acts, this house brought equality nearer. Where legislation led, society followed, and over time that balance changed and our society became more tolerant. Each small step forward felt like a huge leap forward for me personally.”

Speaking in the Commons on Monday, Sir Gerald claimed: “I fear the playing field is not being levelled I believe the pendulum is swinging so far the other way, and there are plenty in the aggressive homosexual community who see this as but a stepping stone to something even further.”

The MP did not make clear what that further step would be.

Sir Gerald made the remarks following comments by Margot James, the first out lesbian Tory MP to be elected to Parliament.

She said: “gay rights legislation had necessarily “levelled the playing field” to ensure “outrageous verbal aggression” directed at gay people would stop.