The Conservative MP for Ilford North says he abstained in yesterday’s vote on gay marriage because the bill does not offer enough protection for religious groups who may not want to marry same sex couples.

Lee Scott said he had been overwhelmed with letters urging him to vote against the bill to legalise same sex marriage which passed by a majority of 225 votes in the House of Commons yesterday.

If the bill becomes law it will allow same sex couples to marry in civil and religious ceremonies.

Mr Scott said: “I have nothing against two people getting married if they want to, but I am also duty bound to protect religion.

“My mailbag has gone ballistic with hundreds and hundreds of letters from people who are concerned that mosques, churches and temples could be forced to do something they do not want to do.

“I believe there must be protection for any religion on the face of this bill, and at the moment I cannot see that.”

John Cryer, Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead and Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative MP for Chingford and Woodford Green both voted in favour of the bill.

The decision to back the bill at a second reading means it has now been approved in principle.

The bill will now receive more detailed parliamentary scrutiny.

MPs were given a free vote on the issue.