The foreign secretary has come under fire after allowing officials in the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda to repeal same-sex marriage, just months after it was made legal.

The Caribbean island nation is the first in the world to legalise then reverse equality of marriage.

The supreme court ruled in favour of gay marriage in 2017 but the governor of the island, John Rankin, signed off legislation on Wednesday (7 February) reversing that right.

He said he was trying to balance the differences between the pro and anti-gay marriage factions.

Bermuda's Senate and House of Assembly passed legislation in December allowing the repeal to take place following a referendum which saw the majority of islanders vote against gay marriage.

Walton Brown, the minister of home affairs in the ruling PLP party, said: "The act is intended to strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female while at the same time recognising and protecting the rights of same-sex couples."

Around a dozen same-sex marriages are thought to have taken place between the time gay marriage was made legal, in May 2017, and the repeal. Church leaders in the socially conservative island led protests against it.

Human rights groups have lobbied Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in his role of Secretary of State for the Commonwealth, to veto the decision.

An FCO spokeswoman said: "The introduction of same–sex marriage last year put Bermuda among the most progressive countries in the region in terms of LGBT equality. It is therefore disappointing to see them taking a step backwards and removing the right for same-sex couples to marry in Bermuda.

"The Governor of Bermuda took extensive advice before making a decision on whether to grant assent to the Domestic Partnership Bill which was democratically passed by the Parliament of Bermuda.

"The UK regrets that Bermuda has chosen this course, but we also respect and believe in their right to self-government."

The Labour MP Chris Bryant, took to Twitter to voice his anger at decision:

Bryant had raised the issued in the Commons with the Minister for Europe and the Americas, Alan Duncan.

Duncan said that the government was "committed to promoting and protecting the rights of LGBT people, not only because it is the right and just thing to do, but because we believe that the strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those that are the most open and inclusive."