Gerard Batten, the UKIP MEP for London, says equal marriage would cause a “nightmare” and that gay members of his party are “perfectly happy” not to have it.

Mr Batten made the comments last week to Christian TV channel Revelation, before his re-election to the European Parliament.

The MEP defended his party’s stance against equal marriage, and suggested the change in the law had unravelled thousands of years of Christian teaching.

“Throughout my working life, I’ve worked with gay people. We’ve got plenty of gay people in UKIP. I’ve actually never met one of them who wants to get married.

“But I think provision was made for this under the civil partnerships [sic], because a lot of this is about inheritance rights and rights if there is an accident or death or something like that.

“I think it’s perfectly understandable that people should be able to designate who they want to inherit their property in whatever circumstances requiring.

“But marriage, and I’ve been trying to think about an example in history, in another civilisation or country, going back as far as you can think where men have married men and women have married women, and I don’t think there is one.”

Mr Batten continued: “Marriage is between a man and a woman, of course that’s also based on you know the sexual relationship between a man and a woman.

“In the past, even before divorce existed, you could always get an annulment for marriage under the Christian religion …

“There was a clear understanding that marriage is between a man and a woman.

“How can you apply those rules to same-sex relationships?

“It’s going to be a nightmare, or are we going to end up with where political correctness always takes you?

“With different laws for different people so we don’t live under one system and know what the rules are.

“Different people have different rules.”

Referring to UKIP’s position against equal marriage, Mr Batten said: “I think that our party is quite happy with the civil partnership arrangement.

“I personally would be happy with an arrangement which says a person can designate to leave their property to whoever they’d like to, whether their related to them, married to them or not.”

The MEP added: “This could clear up all these kinds of problems that some gay people have but my party is not in favour of same-sex marriage.”

He concluded: “Having discussed this with some of my gay friends in UKIP, they’re perfectly happy with that stance as well.”

(Comments about same-sex marriage being at 16.36)

On Thursday afternoon, UKIP MEP David Coburn claimed same-sex marriage was the product of “neo-right” activists.

At the start of the week, Mr Coburn claimed same-sex marriage “breeds homophobia” and that civil partnerships “should be enough”.

Mr Coburn, who is gay and has been in a same-sex relationship for more than 30 years, was elected last Sunday as his party’s first MEP in Scotland.