Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, has suggested that redefining marriage is a priority for the “metropolitan elite”, but not the “vast majority of the public”.
Speaking about the issue over the weekend, Dr Fox said he was “much more in favour of social mobility than social engineering”.
His comments come just days before the Westminster Government’s consultation on redefining marriage closes.
When asked about redefining marriage, Dr Fox told Sky News: “This is a contentious issue but I have to say that I am much more in favour of social mobility than social engineering.”
He added: “I think that the vast majority of the public have a completely different set of priorities from what I would call the metropolitan elite and I think they will be looking for economic and social issues to be dealt with first.”
Today Dr Fox’s office told a homosexual news website that he was undecided on the issue and would be listening to “both sides”.
Last month Owen Paterson, the Northern Ireland Secretary, became the first Cabinet Minister to publicly oppose the Government’s plans to redefine marriage.
A number of other ministers, including the current Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, have expressed reservations.
Over 550,000 people have signed a petition on the Coalition for Marriage website saying they are opposed to a redefinition of marriage.
In April Ann Widdecombe said that she did not campaign for David Cameron “all day, every day in the last general election” so that he could destroy traditional marriage.
The former Cabinet Minister warned that the Government is “determined to press ahead with the removal of the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ in its wholly superfluous introduction of gay marriage”.
She also urged more people to make their views known to the Government, saying: “It will listen only when it approves of the response and if it doesn’t then its citizens can shut up and stop pestering.
“Well don’t shut up, go to c4m.org.uk and sign up.”