UKIP leader Nigel Farage says equal marriage means “opening up a very big can of worms” – whilst refusing to confirm whether he supports the principle of the reform.

In a head-to-head LBC debate with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg about the EU on Wednesday, Mr Farage said he did not support equal marriage due to Britain’s current membership of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The UKIP MEP was asked about the subject again on Nick Ferrari’s LBC breakfast show on Friday.

Mr Ferrari began: “There’s another story bubbling in PinkNews who are determined to get your official stance in regards to gay weddings (which) become legal in England and Wales at one minute after midnight. PinkNews is suggesting you might be campaigning to abolish or disregard these marriages how true is that?”

“Well I never said that so that’s an absolute fantasy on behalf of PinkNews,” Mr Ferrari interrupted to ask, “So you support same-sex marriage?”

Mr Farage replied: “I do not support… I never ever ever support retrospective legalisation of any kind”.

Mr Ferrari repeated the question. “Going forward do you support the idea of same-sex marriage?”

The UKIP leader replied: “I think we are opening up a very big can of worms here and I think there are some very very big risks.

“I think the Church of England is going to go through a very difficult and miserable time as it is dragged through the courts in Strasbourg.

“I can’t prejudge what will happen there, but it may possibly be forced to conduct gay marriages in those churches against the will of the vast majority of churchgoers – that I see as being the real argument.”

Mr Ferrari once again asked if Mr Farage supported equal marriage, he replied: “I do not support the idea of same-sex marriages all the while under the auspices of the European Court of Human Rights.”

The MEP added: “Come out of Europe and we can have a sensible debate on same-sex marriage and how we conduct it.”

When pressed on whether same-sex marriages should be permissible if the UK left the European Union, Mr Farage responded: “That’s for the House of Commons to decide. At the moment, we’re signing up to something and we don’t know where it’s going to lead.”

In an apparent UKIP breakdown in internal communication last week, PinkNews received answers to a readers’ Q&A confirmed by an official spokesman to have been approved by Nigel Farage which stated that the party was reviewing all of its policies including its previously stated opposition to same-sex marriage.

One day later, Mr Farage released a statement reiterating the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage, claiming the answers to the Q&A were sent in error. 

PinkNews has never suggested that Nigel Farage might seek to “abolish or disregard” same-sex marriages.