Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt has backtracked about scrapping civil partnerships.
A newly-published document published by Mordaunt suggests that the government could abolish the institution should take-up rates among same-sex couples remain low following the introduction of equal marriage in 2014.
However, Mordaunt has now backtracked on her comments saying the news reports were “inaccurate”.
In a statement, she said: “We commissioned some research to test attitudes among same sex couples and opposite sex couples about civil partnerships to help inform us about what we do next.
“Quotes attributed to Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt by the Sunday Times at the weekend were taken from a policy paper on this research.
“We are open minded on this matter and want to hear people’s views. Please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Civil partnerships were first introduced in 2004 under Labour, with thousands of same-sex couples taking the opportunity to formalise their relationships in the eyes of the law before marriage equality was legalised a decade later.
However, the number of same-sex couples opting to enter civil partnerships has dropped since the introduction of marriage equality, with just 890 civil partnerships registered in 2016 in England and Wales compared to 6,305 between 2007-2013.
The new report states: "If demand for civil partnerships remains low and this becomes a stable position, this might suggest that same-sex couples no longer see this as a relevant way of recognising their relationships, and that Government should consider abolishing or phasing out civil partnerships entirely.
"If significant demand for civil partnerships remains over time, this may indicate that the institution still has relevance."