In a statement made at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, Theresa May said she would end discrimination against opposite-sex couples.

The government was due to respond to a supreme court ruling earlier in the summer which found that it was discriminatory to restrict civil partnerships to gay couples. Justices at the UK’s highest court unanimously found in favour of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan and declared that their human rights had been breached.

In an announcement at the conference in Birmingham, May said: “This change in the law helps protect the interests of opposite-sex couples who want to commit, want to formalise their relationship, but don’t necessarily want to get married.