Responding to an email lobbying him to support equal marriage in the House of Lords next week, Paddy Ashdown has said he would support the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, but that he is out of the country for the vote.

Quickly responding to  a message sent by the website, Lobby a Lord, which was launched today by equal marriage campaign group Out4Marriage, and allows users to either lobby a randomly picked peer ahead of next week’s debate, or search and identify peers based on their equal marriage or LGBT rights stance.

Lord Ashdown of Norton sub-Hamdon was sent the email message by a PinkNews reader, and said that he would have possibly spoken for the bill, and voted for it, if he was in the House of Lords next week.

The former Lib Dem leader said he was in France researching his new book.

He wrote: “Thanks. I would certainly vote for (and maybe speak) this if I was in the Lords next week. But I fear I am in France researching my next book.”

Next week’s House of Lords vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will now take place on Tuesday in the daytime, after supporters warned voting in the early hours could put the bill at risk. 

On Wednesday, Baroness Thornton warned against allowing next week’s House of Lords second reading debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill to drag on into the late hours.  

With at least 86 peers having requested to speak on Monday, the vote could have happened as late as 3am.

LobbyALord.org was created by Out4Marriage, which shares the same founder as PinkNews.co.uk. Already, 1,052 lobby messages have been sent to peers in the House of Lords, excluding Twitter messages, urging them to support it during Tuesday’s debate.

The site will be updated as more peers reveal their stance on equal marriage.