Vice chair of Christians in Parliament urges Lord Carey to focus on global poverty and not on attacking equal marriage

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Lord Carey has been criticised for his outspoken attack on David Cameron’s commitment to gay equality by the vice chair of an all party parliamentary group.

Lord Bates, of Christians in Parliament, says the former archbishop of Canterbury should focus instead on global poverty and not on the prime minister.

Over the weekend, Lord Carey, a staunch opponent of equal marriage accused David Cameron of making Christians feel marginalised.

Lord Carey claimed many Christians were left with “anxieties” over the prime minister’s support for same-sex marriage. He said it was a “bit rich” for Mr Cameron to tell religious leaders to oppose secularisation.

Responding in an article for Conservative Home, Lord Bates, vice chair of the Christians in Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group, said: “It is perhaps more revealing of the private prejudice of Lord Carey that he makes absolutely no mention of the prime minister’s policies which will see overseas aid levels reach 0.7% under this government at a time of recession.

“No mention of the 12 million children vaccinated last year against killer diseases; the 2.7 million mothers and children prevented from going hungry and five million children given access to education for the first time.”

David Cameron’s former parliamentary private secretary, government whip Desmond Swayne, told the BBC that he was shocked by Lord Carey’s comments.

“I was almost gobsmacked because I regard myself as a bible-believing Christian and my view is that the government couldn’t have been more forthright in defending the interests and practices of Christians.”

On the issue of equal marriage, Mr Swayne said the government has done all it could “to take account of the objections of the Church of England and other churches which are against this development.”

He added: “We’ve produced a package which maximises the freedom available to the churches – those that don’t want to touch it, won’t have to.”

Last May, Mr Swayne recorded a video of support for the Out4Marriage campaign, he said: “I’m married, I enjoy being married, it’s a huge blessing, and therefore I want that blessing to be extended to everyone.”