A JOINT attack has been launched by five Hampshire clergymen over their MP’s support for gay marriage.

New Forest MP Desmond Swayne is under fire from ministers in his constituency accusing him of helping “jettison a key part of the Christian heritage” for his support of allowing gay couples to marry which they describe as “misguided”.

A committed Christian, Mr Swayne recently complained about churchgoers giving him abuse for his view of the issue which is due to be voted on in soon in Parliament.

The five clergymen were Rev Neil Smart from Brockenhurst, Boldre and South Baddesley, the Rev Paul Taylor from Hordle, the Rev David Gooderidge, pastor at Lymington Baptist Church, the Rev John Pawson from Sway, and the Rev James Bruce from Lyndhurst, Emery Down and Minstead.

“We were bemused and disappointed to read the comments of Desmond Swayne about the opposition of so many people to his party’s misguided plan to redefine marriage.

“The proposals, which are to be debated next week in Parliament, were always going to provoke a strong reaction since they seek to jettison a key part of the Christian heritage of our nation without any mandate or real consultation.

“At this time when so many are deeply anxious about family budgets, debt and unemployment, ordinary people want the government to concentrate their time and resources on reviving the economy for everyone’s benefit, not creating widespread controversy about marriage by rushing through legislation about which so many people are deeply unhappy,” they said.