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LiamFoxLiam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, has said that gay marriage is just “social engineering” and should not be a priority for the Coalition government.

Gay marriage has continued to divide senior Conservative politicians, with Dr Fox as the latest to join the debate of whether it should be priority for the Conservatives and the Coalition.

The senior Conservative MP told Sky News that the issue of marriage for homosexual couples is an obsession of the “metropolitan elite” rather than ordinary people.

He also urged the Government to concentrate on the economy, saying “This is a contentious issue but I have to say that I am much more in favour of social mobility than social engineering.”

Same-sex marriage has been strongly backed by the Liberal Democrats but several high-profile Conservatives have declared their opposition to the issue: Owen Paterson, the Northern Ireland Secretary; Gerald Howarth, a defence minister and the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, who said the government should focus on “things that matter” more to voters

Conservative leader David Cameron famously said in a keynote speech last year “I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”

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