Former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, who still writes for the paper, has made another attack on the same-sex marriage bill, saying: “I wonder if the law will eventually be changed to allow one to marry one’s dog.”

Writing in his Spectator column, the official biographer to the late Lady Thatcher, said: “Looking forward, as one always must, I wonder if the law will eventually be changed to allow one to marry one’s dog. Until now, this would have been considered disgusting, since marriage has been a law revolving around sexual behaviour, and sexual acts with animals are still, I believe, illegal. But, as this column has pointed out, the unintended consequence of the same-sex marriage legislation has been to take sex out of marriage law. Civil servants, unable to define same-sex consummation, omitted it. So marriage, from now on, can mean no more than the legally registered decision of two people to live together while not being married to anyone else.”

Mr Moore added: “The justification for this is ‘equality’, buttressed by the idea that love must carry all before it. People often love their dogs very much and want to spend their life with them. So why should they not, chastely, marry them?”

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill excludes same-sex marriages from nullification by non-consummation in favour of the more commonly used option of “unreasonable behaviour”.

Last month, Mr Moore criticised the Chief Rabbi for not voting against the bill during second reading in the House of Lords.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill returns to the Lords next week for its report stage.

Detailed line by line examination of the bill will continue by peers. Third reading takes place on 15 July.