AN East Lancashire MP has spoken out to explain why he voted against David Cameron’s gay marriage legislation.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said he staged a number of meetings in his con- stituency ahead of Tuesday night’s vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Catholic priests had signalled their opposition to the move, as had all but two Anglican ministers locally, Mr Birtwistle told the Lancashire Telegraph. And he had received a 500-signature petition from a Burnley mosque, urging him to reject the bill, he said.

Mr Birtwistle said: “I have been against it right from the beginning because I believe that’s the view of the vast majority of people in Burnley.”

The Liberal Democrat MP was one of just four from his party to oppose the bill. He was also joined by 133 Tories, 15 Labour MPs, eight Democratic Unionists and one Independent.

Blackburn MP Jack Straw, Hyndburn’s Graham Jones and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson each voted in favour of the bill, which will now be sent to the House of Lords.

Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry, who made one brief intervention in the debate, just before 4pm, did not vote. He did, however, vote in favour of a number of amendments, proposed by critics of the bill, on Monday.

Because of their roles, neither Deputy Speakers Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley) nor Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley) voted.

Mr Evans is privately understood to be in favour of the bill, as is Lindsay Hoyle.

Under the law, same-sex couples will be allowed to marry. Possible opposition was weakened by an agreement by the government to review the future of civil partnerships.