Dropping controversial policies like same-sex marriage could help the Conservatives win the next election, according to a survey of Tory party members.
Influential blog, ConservativeHome, asked 1,419 Tory members to rate 23 campaign ideas on how likely they would be to help the party win the next general election.
They ranked “signs of reasonable economic recovery” and a “successful debt reduction policy” as the two most important factors for winning re-election.
But they also said that “dropping controversial policies like House of Lords reform and gay marriage” was important, ranking this in seventh place.
The issue was deemed more important than a “strong commitment to protect the NHS” which came in eighth.
Nick Clegg announced that plans to reform the Upper Chamber had been ditched earlier this week.
But last month David Cameron said he was “absolutely determined” to redefine marriage in the life of the current Parliament.
In May Owen Paterson, the Northern Ireland Secretary, became the first Cabinet Member to openly oppose the plan.
A number of other ministers have expressed reservations, and numerous backbenchers have signed a 590,000-strong petition protesting against any change.
In July gay journalist Andrew Pierce warned that the Conservative Party’s membership had plummeted under Mr Cameron’s leadership.
And an editorial in the Daily Telegraph said that David Cameron’s attempt to redefine marriage is a “pointless distraction”.
The paper chided Mr Cameron for not allowing any discussion about the principle of redefining marriage, despite the fact that most of the public controversy around the issue has been based on this very principle.
It said that the consultation on whether to introduce same-sex marriage is a “sham”, because the people are being ignored.