A Catholic Labour MP has introduced a Bill that would legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, saying that he is “living the message of the Gospel”.

Conor McGinn, who was born in Northern Ireland but represents St Helens North in Merseyside, said that God was on the side of equality and compassion.

Speaking in the House of Commons last Wednesday, Mr McGinn described himself as a “practising Catholic”, joking that “My parish priest would undoubtedly say that I probably need to practise a little more.”

Mr McGinn said he has been asked whether, given what he called “the position of the Church hierarchy”, the Bill was in conflict with his faith.

He commented: “ Let me say this as gently and, I hope, as appropriately as possible: the God I know is one of love, compassion and understanding.

“In show­ing that to others, in standing up for the marginalised and those denied their rights, I be­lieve I am living the message of the Gospel in this Holy Week”.

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