David Cameron is under intense pressure to ditch his gay marriage initiative amid claims that Tory MPs fear they are 'haemorrhaging' votes over the issue.
The Mail on Sunday has been told that Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin has privately assured anxious Tory backbenchers that the Prime Minister's same-sex marriage plan will 'not come to a vote'.
The MPs say Mr McLoughlin told them the controversial proposal will be 'kicked into the long grass'.
The Chief Whip, a former miner, is one of the most senior Roman Catholics in the Conservative Party.
The pressure on Mr Cameron has been increased by warnings that a Tory rebellion in the Commons would eclipse last year's EU referendum revolt, when 81 Conservatives defied the Prime Minister.
Backbenchers are reporting an 'avalanche' of protests from Conservative supporters over the gay marriage initiative championed by Mr Cameron. -- The UK Daily Mail