Tories face funding backlash over gay marriage

Some of the Conservative Party’s biggest financial backers may scale down their funding because of plans to redefine marriage.

Three of the party’s biggest givers are thinking of cutting back their support, writes James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday.

The policy is also hitting grass roots support, with one Tory MP saying her constituency association is losing more members over gay marriage than any other issue.

Concerned

Meanwhile, David Cameron’s chief strategist has told senior Tories about polling which shows long-time Tory voters are among the most concerned about the issue.

Redefining marriage was blamed as a factor in the party’s poor results in the local elections.

Ministers called on party leaders to concentrate on more important matters, like reviving the economy.

Rebellion

To ward off a potential rebellion, David Cameron has said he will allow his MPs to vote freely on the issue.

The free vote will also apply to government ministers – four have already voiced their concerns about redefining marriage.

But Nick Clegg will force his Lib Dem MPs to vote for redefining marriage whether they agree with the policy or not.

Opposed

A poll released at the weekend shows that same-sex marriage is the issue which most stands out in MPs correspondence from voters.

MPs say that, judging by the correspondence, their constituents are overwhelmingly against the plan with three out of four saying they are opposed to it.

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