UKIP’s support for traditional marriage is a key factor in the party’s recent surge in support, a new poll shows.
The ICM poll for The Sunday Telegraph shows that the party is gaining support from voters who are frustrated with Government plans to redefine marriage.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Express says it’s time for David Cameron to act like a Tory and ditch the gay marriage plans.
According to the poll, 51 per cent of so-called Conservative-UKIP “switchers” – people who have yet to decide which of the two they will vote for – say UKIP’s policy on same-sex marriage is better than the Tories’.
Just 39 per cent of Conservative-UKIP switchers say the Tories have “the best policy on same-sex marriage”.
The survey was carried out by ICM Research which interviewed an online sample of 1,990 adults on 13-15 March.
The Sunday Express editorial criticises David Cameron for “footling around on issues like gay marriage” instead of focusing on other matters.
The paper says this has “been hugely damaging among both Tory grass roots and his own backbenchers”.
It adds: “The PM must stop dithering about and start acting like a Tory. Only then will he gain the respect of the public… and his own backbenchers.”
The Conservative Party has seen numerous party members leave over the issue of same-sex marriage.
Earlier this month it was revealed that membership has fallen by 35 per cent at one local Tory group, largely because of gay marriage.
In January this year a Tory constituency chairman quit the party after 49 years over the issue, calling it an “ill-thought-out” idea.
Edmund Costelloe, who was chairman of Somerton and Frome Constituency Conservative Association, said redefining marriage is an “undebated and ill-thought-out attack on marriage between a man and a woman for the procreation of children”.
In February a Tory chairman in David Cameron’s constituency resigned because of the plans.
Cicely Maunder said she had “no idea” why Mr Cameron supports the change, and said other local members also walked out over the issue.