MPs have been accused of “lacking integrity” over their views on gay marriage.

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and Crawley MP Henry Smith both signed a letter accusing the coalition of acting without a mandate in relation to the issue.

They poured scorn on the Government’s consultation process and Mr Loughton has now commented on the issue on his own website.

He said he was not homophobic but that the Church of England marriage service defined marriage as “a gift of God in creation through which husband and wife may know the grace of God”.

He said: “What has particularly annoyed me in this whole debate is the tendency for certain elements of the lobby in favour of gay marriage instantly to caricature anyone who is against as homophobic.

“In my case, certainly nothing could be further from the truth and as Minister for Children and Youth I particularly value the work I have done with LGBT young people and community groups.”

The Argus made repeated attempts to contact both Mr Loughton and Mr Smith to discuss this further but was unable to.

James Ledward, editor of Brighton-based G-Scene magazine, said: “I find it interesting that these elected politicians are now talking about needing a mandate to drive any change. They lack integrity.

“Did the Government have a mandate to scrap the primary care trusts when they were elected? Was that in their manifesto?

“To take the moral high ground on this issue while ignoring how they have behaved in the past says so much about the value beliefs of these individuals.”