PM ally calls grassroots Tories ‘swivel-eyed loons’

Grassroots Tories are “mad, swivel-eyed loons”, according to one of the Prime Minister’s closest allies.

The comment emerged as the Conservative Party faces uproar over its plans to redefine marriage – with many local activists leaving over the issue.

Lord Feldman strongly denied making the comments after internet rumours linked them to him.

Representative

But Ben Harris-Quinney, head of Conservative Grassroots, said: “It doesn’t matter who made these comments, the problem is that it comes as no surprise and is representative of a wider malaise in the party – the disconnect between the leadership and the grassroots, between conservatism and the leadership of the Conservative Party.”

He added: “The tail cannot continue to wag the dog. We need to drop or heavily amend policies like gay marriage that aren’t conservative.”

Number 10 said the quote had not come from anyone inside Downing Street.

Voters

In the wake of the Conservatives coming third in the Eastleigh by-election in February, Tory MP Stewart Jackson said the Party lost because activists were unwilling to canvas voters because of the Government’s marriage plans.

Several councillors and constituency chairmen have quit the Conservatives over gay marriage.

Cicely Maunders resigned her post as chairman of local Tories in Chipping Norton, which is in David Cameron’s Witney constituency.

Support

Explaining her decision to the Sunday People newspaper, she said: “I left after 34 years because of David Cameron’s support for gay marriage.”

“I have no choice but to feel strongly about it as a Christian believer.”

“Other members walked out too. I’ve had a lot of support.”

Opponents

Last year, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg came under fire for referring to gay marriage opponents as ‘bigots’ in a draft speech.

The word was removed from the speech before it was given.

A former senior advisor to Nick Clegg said supporters of traditional marriage are “bigots” and Mr Clegg should have said so.

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