The Poms are clearly not as enlightened as us Kiwis. David Cameron facing a defeat in the House of Commons over gay marriage.
David Cameron is facing the prospect of another defeat in the Commons over his plans to legalise gay marriage.
More than 100 Conservatives are said to be ready to back a “wrecking” amendment to the same-sex marriage Bill that could cost the Treasury £4 billion.
If enough Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs also support the amendment – which would open up civil partnerships to heterosexual couples for the first time – then Mr Cameron’s plans will be in jeopardy.
The amendment, proposed by Tim Loughton, a former Tory minister who opposes same-sex marriage, will be backed by many Labour MPs, opposition sources said.
The Liberal Democrats are known to support such a reform.
However, Downing Street sources warned that the Prime Minister would not support extending civil partnerships beyond their current application because he believed marriage was the best way to recognise commitment in relationships.
Other government sources suggested that extending civil partnerships would hit the Treasury with an extra £4 billion in pension liabilities.
Senior Tories have urged their colleagues to support the law when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill returns to the Commons today for the report stage and third reading.
Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, describes in The Telegraph today how the death of his gay brother from Aids convinced him to support moves to legalise marriage for same-sex couples.
He says his views were shaped by the death of his brother Charles in 1993, when “society was a far less accepting place for gay men such as him”.
However, Mr Maude’s view is fiercely opposed by many of his Conservative colleagues who take a traditionalist and often Christian view of marriage. It is understood that Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, is strongly likely to vote for amendments tabled by the Tory MP David Burrowes, intended to prevent the “erosion of traditional marriage”.