Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has put at distance comments made by Christian MP Danny Kruger in support of the traditional understanding of marriage.
Marriages between men and women were "the only possible basis for a safe and successful society", Kruger told the National Conservativism Conference, meeting in Westminster.
In his speech, the co-founder of the New Social Covenant Unit with fellow Christian Conservative Miriam Cates MP emphasised the Christian notion of marriage as "a public act" that "wider society should recognise and reward".
But according to BBC News, Mr Sunak's spokesman said although some ministers had chosen to speak at the event, that did not mean the government endorsed its agenda.
The remarks causing concern to Downing Street saw Danny Kruger making a bold defence of a traditional theological understanding of matrimony: “The normative family – held together by marriage, by mother and father sticking together for the sake of the children and the sake of their own parents and for the sake of themselves – this is the only possible basis for a safe and successful society.
“Marriage is not all about you. It’s not just a private arrangement. It’s a public act, by which you undertake to live for someone else, and for wider society; and wider society should recognise and reward this undertaking.”
Liberal Democrat equalities spokesperson Christine Jardine told the BBC that Mr Kruger's comments "show just how utterly out of touch the Conservative Party is with modern day Britain".
But fellow conference speaker and Roman Catholic priest Father Benedict Kiely told Premier Christian News that Danny Kruger was right. “As he's used the word not just traditional, it's biblical. This is God's plan for humanity: male and female in the image of God, only two sexes, the ideal. We always have to hold up the ideal with charity, compassion that people fail and fall, and we don't blame them for that”, he said.
Father Kiely was especially critical of Prime Minister Sunak’s public disassociation: “That's the shocking thing, Conservatives now appear to be saying that we don't support traditional marriage. There are other forms of union, but we call marriage a sacrament. And that is the ideal we hold up to and strive for”.
Addressing the conference in a session on ‘God and country’, Father Kiely said his aim was to call Conservatives back to their foundations in what he called ‘biblical Christianity, Orthodox Christianity’. “If they mean anything with that name”, he continued, they “should be supporting these things. If it's against the culture, then we have to change the culture”.
But the priest, who devotes his ministry to aid and advocacy for persecuted Christians, said he didn’t expect Christian MPs in the Conservative party, such as Danny Kruger MP and Miriam Cates MP to get very far. “I suspect they'll stay on the back benches for quite some time. I don't see many opportunities for promotion at the moment”, he told Premier.
“But God bless them. They are the people of principle. That's surely what we want in politicians, whether we agree with them or not - that they are people of principle, not power”, he concluded.