Tory grandee Lord Heseltine has questioned David Cameron’s push to redefine marriage, asking, “why are we doing this now”.
In comments to The Daily Telegraph, the former Cabinet Minister said: “Like a very large number of people I’m saying why are we doing this now, what’s the point?”.
Last year senior Conservatives said fringe issues like same-sex marriage should be put on hold.
Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, and Tim Loughton, a former Children’s Minister, said the Government should focus on more important matters.
Last month national newspapers criticised Mr Cameron’s drive to redefine marriage, with the Daily Mail saying all three major parties seem more concerned about issues like redefining marriage than the economy.
The Sunday Telegraph said grassroot Tories feel Mr Cameron has “allowed himself to become distracted” over issues like gay marriage.
And in the Daily Express the Tories were criticised for becoming sidelined by “trendy metropolitan obsessions such as gay marriage”.
In October 2012 a prominent policy analyst said the Prime Minister was creating “unnecessary divisions” by pushing forward with redefining marriage.
Jill Kirby said that the issue has not built support, but instead has set up “antagonism between family campaigners and gay people, alienating many Tory voters and party workers, and setting churches and faith groups at odds with the Conservative party.”
In March last year Lord Brennan, a Labour Peer and senior QC, also criticised the move to redefine marriage now.
He said: “Given our present economic situation, why does Mr Cameron think that so much parliamentary time and energy should be dedicated to a change in the law which would obliterate vast amounts of our cultural and legal heritage?”
And in November 2012 the British Youth Parliament rejected campaigning for same-sex marriage, with one member saying other important issues should be taken up.