Split among MPs over ballot on gay marriage

Landmark vote: The vote will be held in Parliament
Landmark vote: The vote will be held in Parliament
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Lancashire MPs are split on a landmark vote on gay marriage due to be held in Parliament today.

The vote to legalise homosexual unions is the first ever held in Parliament.

But it has sparked controversy within the Conservative Party, with several chairman and former chairmen of Tory Party associations signing a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, claiming the matter will cause “significant” damage to the party’s 2015 election campaign.

In Lancashire, there is a divide in opinion over the issue – but all MPs agree that as the vote is a free vote, reports over the split across the party as a whole are overblown.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “At the moment it is my intention not to support the legislation and that is probably going to be in the form of abstaining. I will listen to the debate. Over the weekend I have beebn listening to constituents and listening to members of the community.

Eric Ollerenshaw, who represents Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “At the moment for me it is a question of quality so I will be voting for given religious groups are protected.

“This is a vote of conscience. I know Labour MPs who are planning to vote against.”

South Ribble MP Lorraine Fullbrook said she is planning to support the motion, adding: “Equal marriage will bring equality. I do not believe that people should be excluded from marriage simply because they love someone of the same sex.

“I believe in the institution of marriage.”

She added that the bill protects religious freedoms.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evan and Wyre and Preston North’s Ben Wallace were not available for comment.