In his regular appearance on BBC’s This Week, former Conservative MP Michael Portillo said the real divisions on equal marriage lie not within his old party – but in both the Anglican and Catholic churches.

Yesterday, when asked for his “moment of the week”, the ex-shadow chancellor replied: “Gay marriage has now passed by big majorities in the Commons and the Lords and the Church of England has accepted [it’s] the will of Parliament and that’s the end of the Church of England campaign.

“I think it is a good moment to reflect on the fact that whilst this has been presented as an issue that has caused enormous problems for David Cameron and splits within the Conservative Party – actually the problems are really with the Church of England and indeed with the Catholic Church.

“[They] just do not know how to deal with the issue of homosexuality and gay priests and gay bishops and so on. And that is where the division is and the churches are haemorrhaging membership like water disappearing from a bath and they don’t have any way of dealing with this problem.”

When asked by presenter Andrew Neil “if the country had taken [same-sex marriage] in its stride?” Mr Portillo said: “I think the country has and in that old fashioned way Parliament has voted and as I say big majorities have been achieved in both Houses – end of issue, over.”