INVERCLYDE'S MP has backed same sex marriage - just over three months after voting against a Bill to legalise it.

Labour's Iain McKenzie came under fire from various quarters in February when it was revealed that he was one of 175 MPs to oppose the Bill, which affects only England and Wales.

The MP was also slammed by Dermot Kehoe, the partner of his predecessor, the late David Cairns.

Mr Kehoe had said at the time that he was 'saddened and disappointed' by Mr McKenzie's 'no' vote.

On Tuesday, MPs voted by 366 votes to 161 to pass the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at third reading, as it takes a step closer to becoming law - with Mr McKenzie among those voting 'yes'.

The Inverclyde MP also made a speech to the House of Commons during a debate on the issue, outlining the reasons for his change of heart. Mr McKenzie said that prior to the last vote, he had been 'inundated' by constituents concerned at the details of the Bill - but that the issues had now been ironed out.

He therefore declared himself happy to vote in favour of the legislation during Tuesday's third reading in the Commons.Mr McKenzie said: "At the second reading of this Bill I was in the minority on the Labour benches in voting against.

"I was inundated with emails, letters and phone calls from constituents who were overwhelmingly expressing their fear that their faith and religious freedoms were being challenged.

"I found there was cause for concern as the religious community felt vulnerable and at risk of having, in some way, their faith and freedom to practice that faith placed under threat by this Bill." Mr McKenzie added that another concern raised was that churches had felt they would be legally bound to carry out same sex ceremonies, even to the point of threat of legal proceedings if refused. But the MP says he is now satisfied that the concerns of his constituents have been addressed.

He said: "I kept my constituents up to speed on the progress and changes to the Bill at committee stage, and to their credit the majority who had previously contacted me are now happy with the changes made.

"I support this Bill not because of one stance triumphing another, but because respect, understanding and equality must be delivered for all."