Prime Minister David Cameron has survived a rebellion in the House of Lords to see his controversial legislation to introduce gay marriage in England and Wales pass a crucial stage.
The bill which only affects England and Wales was a major test of the Prime Minister’s authority with many peers in his own party following Tory MPs in opposing it.
But a wrecking amendment put down by Lord Dear only attracted 148 votes and with 390 voting against ensuring it passed the second reading.
The vote saw Tory peers split with most Church of England Bishops opposing gay marriage as well with the exception of the Bishop of Oxford.
Referring to an allegedattack on opponents of the Bill by a source close to Mr Cameron, former Tory chairman Lord Mawhinney said: “For 40 years my life has been driven by Christian and Conservative convictions, and now I am led to believe that because I continue to hold those values and principles I am a swivel-eyed loon. I want to raise a flag for swivel-eyed loons, because at the very heart of our country and our party is a commitment to time-tested values and principles.