The Conservatives’ “controversial and revolutionary” same-sex marriage policy is one of the reasons voters have left, a senior backbench MP has said.
Sir Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, criticised a “whole host of errors conceived or approved of by Tory bigwigs” in an article for a Conservative grassroots website.
He suggested that the Party should take more care “not to infuriate” supporters, and called for it to promote traditional marriage.
Sir Edward was writing in the wake of Douglas Carswell’s victory for UKIP in the Clacton by-election.
Carswell was one of 136 Tory MPs, including Sir Edward, who voted against same-sex marriage in February last year.
Writing on the Conservative Home website, Sir Edward said: “Because UKIP was created by the failures of our leadership, they are the only ones whose actions can get our people back in the fold.”
Yesterday Daily Mail columnist Andrew Pierce said the policy on same-sex marriage “pushed many traditional Tories towards Ukip”.
Last month a poll for the BBC revealed that the majority of Conservative councillors believe David Cameron was wrong to push forward same-sex marriage.
Responding to a survey conducted by ComRes, 60 per cent of councillors said they disagreed with the Prime Minister’s push for gay marriage.
Nearly two-thirds of councillors said that legalising gay marriage did not make the Conservative Party more electable.
Earlier in the year it emerged that local Tory associations had seen an average drop in membership of ten per cent across constituencies in 2013.
In Chippenham, a marginal seat held by the Lib Dems, the Conservative association said that membership “continued to fall” in 2013, referring to the “ongoing mass exodus over issues such as gay marriage”.
And in the Kenilworth and Southam constituency, the association warned that its members had been affected by the same-sex marriage Bill and other national controversies.
David Cameron recently reaffirmed his support for redefining marriage in an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight programme.
He claimed: “I believe in the family, I believe in marriage, I think it’s such a great institution, I think men should be able to marry each other and women should be able to marry each other”.