WEAVER Vale Conservative MP Graham Evans today explained why he did not vote in the key Commons election on gay marriage.

He said: “As it is clear from the many views expressed, this has been a very contentious issue and I listened carefully to those who contacted me.

“As an MP, I am compelled to represent the views of not just myself, but the views of my constituents. I have received hundreds of letters from constituents who oppose this Bill due to their concerns about their civil liberties and the right to practice their religious beliefs and only a handful of letters supporting the Bill.

“I reached the conclusion that voting for the second reading of the Bill would go against the majority view of those who felt strongly enough to contact me. I therefore chose to abstain from voting on this Bill.”

Halton’s Labour MP Derek Twigg voted against the Marriage Same Sex Couples Bill on Tuesday evening with 21 other Labour members, 4 Liberal Democrats and 134 Tories.

There were 67 abstentions across the main parties.

MPs were given a free vote.

Mr Evans added: “I would like to reassure concerned constituents that there is absolutely no question of churches or of any other religious institution being forced to host ceremonies for same-sex marriage, or indeed civil partnerships.

“The Prime Minister believes, and the majority of Parliament has demonstrated it believes, that society is made stronger by people’s commitment to one another, irrespective of gender.”