Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, refused to back new legislation to allow gay marriage as ministerial differences over the issue became public.
The Government is currently consulting on the plans and people have until next month to officially comment on the introduction of gay marriage. David Cameron has publicly offered it strong backing.
However, Mr Hammond said: “Clearly it’s not the number one priority. If you stop people in the street and ask them what their concerns are, they’ll talk to you about jobs and economic growth, they’ll talk to you about the level of the wages they’re earning, wanting to see real growth in wages again.”
He added: “There is no legislation in the Queen’s Speech [on gay marriage]; there’s a consultation going on, and we should look at, listen to what people are saying in response to that consultation.
“But I think the government has got to show over the next couple of years that it is focused on the things that matter to the people in this country – not just the short-term things but the long-term things as well; the reform of our education system, changing the welfare system – which is like turning around a super-tanker – changing the welfare system so that work always pays,%