Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has admitted that he is ‘disappointed’ by the result of the controversial vote on same sex marriages which prompted a Tory revolt in the House of Commons on Tuesday night.
MPs voted in favour of the Marriage Bill by 400 to 175, but 136 Tory MPs – including Mr Penning – opposed the proposed legislation.
The bill will now receive more detailed parliamentary scrutiny and, if passed, will enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies.
Mr Penning, however, said he has always made it clear that he is against the proposal.
“It was a conscientious vote which I made in view of my own faith, in particular,” he said.
“I’m disappointed but I respect the result and I respect the views of people on both sides.
“It is a very emotive subject and my views are certainly not anti-gay or homophobic. In fact, some of my close friends are gay.”
Despite the clear opposition to the bill from a large number of Tory MPs, Mr Penning insists that Prime Minister David Cameron still has the firm backing of his party.
He said: “The Prime Minister certainly feels one way and my view does not mean that I am not supportive of him.
“We have to move on now. The bill itself has not been passed and it will take considerable time to do so.”
In contrast to Mr Penning, conservative MP for South West Herts David Gauke voted in favour of the bill.