Culture Secretary and Minister for Equalities Sajid Javid has confirmed that couples in civil partnerships will face no additional costs in converting their union to a marriage – providing it is done within 12 months from the date 10 December.

The fee of £45 will be waived only for couples who entered into civil partnerships before 29 March 2014 – the date in which same-sex marriages became available in England and Wales.

Mr Javid made the announcement in the Commons on Thursday morning. The policy was jointly formed between the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Home Office.

In response, Conservative Party Vice Chairman for Equalities, Mike Freer, told PinkNews.co.uk: “Whilst the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was a major milestone, today’s announcement makes marriage a reality for the many people already in civil partnerships.”

The MP added: “I have lobbied the Chancellor and Culture Secretary for some time on this issue and I am delighted that they have acted. By allowing the process to take place for free, the government has reaffirmed its commitments to equalities.”

Labour’s Shadow Equalities Minister Gloria De Piero had asked Mr Javid if any cost would be incurred for couples looking to convert in a letter sent to the Conservative MP last month.

Couples in civil partnerships in England and Wales will be able to convert to marriage by attending a registry office from 10 December – with the fee of £45 waived for one year.