Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski today said he would hold a public meeting on the issue of same-sex marriage – to help him decide which way to vote.
Mr Kawczynski said that his ‘gut feeling’ was to support same-sex marriage, but he could not ignore the ‘hundreds of letters’ he has received from constituents who are opposed to the move.
He said it would be ‘arrogant’ to ignore the views of his constituents, and said the outcome of a vote at the end of the planned meeting would be a ‘huge factor’ in influencing his decision.
It is hoped the meeting to discuss the issue will be held in February. Plans to legalise same-sex marriage have divided the Conservative party.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who supports the move, has promised a change in the law in England and Wales by the next election in May 2015.
But more than 100 of his MPs, including Environment Secretary and north Shropshire MP Owen Paterson, are thought to be against the idea.
The Prime Minister has offered MPs a free vote on the issue – due to take place in the spring.
Mr Kawczynski said: “On the one hand my gut reaction is to support gay marriage because I am very much against discrimination and it is an issue of equal rights. However, in Shrewsbury there is a very large element of society which is fundamentally opposed to this change.
“Before I decide how to vote I want to organise a large public meeting to hear the views of those who are in favour and those who are against. I have been overwhelmed by the number of letters from constituents opposed to this proposal. On a highly contentious issue like this I think it is important for MPs to have public meetings to find out the will of the people.”
Mr Kawczynski said the meeting would be chaired by an independent adjudicator, and would end with a vote on same-sex marriage.
Yesterday a group of senior Tory MPs and peers launched a campaign group backing same-sex marriage.