It has been reported that Catholic campaigners have pushed for MPs of their faith to be banned from communion if they vote for equal marriage.

A petition sponsored by Scottish group Catholic Truth calls for Catholic MPs who support same-sex marriage, as well as abortion and euthanasia, to be denied communion.

According to the Mirror, Catholic MPs also received emails echoing the petition days before the final deliberations on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Labour MP Rob Flello, convener of the Catholic Legislators’ Network and opponent of equal marriage, said: “I was horrified that members of our church should be openly vilified for taking a view which may be different to my own but is one that was based on their own conscience.

“It doesn’t help people on my side of the argument that this organisation is taking such a hostile, aggressive position.

“It does not exactly seem in keeping with my view of what the Christian faith is all about.”

Mr Flello wrote to Catholic Truth condemning the emails and arguing that Catholic MPs had decided on their equal marriage stance “only after carefully informing, intensely examining and then voting in accordance with their conscience – an approach which our Church not only permits, but in fact demands.”

He adds in the letter: “What I find particularly bizarre and ill-informed is that you should seek from a Scottish organisation to dictate to Members of Parliament in Westminster how they should vote in relation to a measure which does not apply to Scotland.”

Catholic Truth’s Patricia McKeever then published the letter on the group’s blog, calling it “outrageous”.

“Mr Flello’s views on Catholic conscience fall very far wide of the mark, and I’ll be replying to his letter as soon as I can get down to it, to tell him so,” she wrote.

The House of Lords will begin its third reading of the same-sex marriage bill tomorrow.