David Cameron said he wouldn’t have pushed through gay marriage had he known beforehand how alienated grassroots members would feel, it has been revealed.
In quotes disclosed in a book by a newspaper columnist, the Prime Minister told one ally: “If I’d known what it was going to be like, I wouldn’t have done it.”
But he now denies regretting the legislation, saying in an interview: “I don’t think I expected quite the furore that there was.”
“It’s clearly been very difficult for some people to take on, and I completely understand and respect that.”
“I am passionate about marriage. I think it’s a great institution, and I think it should be available to people who are gay as well as those of us who aren’t.”
Matthew d’Ancona’s book ‘In It Together’ gives a series of insights into the Prime Minister and his dealings with the cabinet.
Mr d’Ancona writes about the way more Tory MPs voted against redefining marriage than voted for it.
The book says: “In his bleaker private moments, Cameron became savagely self-critical about his misreading of the party on gay marriage.”
And he is reported to have said to his advisers, “I want this sorted out by July”.
Mr d’Ancona says, “it was clear that the ill-feeling the reform had sown in the Conservative Party would endure long after that”.
The book also says the Prime Minister was seeking to allay the fears of dozens of Party activists months after the vote.
A YouGov poll in July showed that 59 per cent of ordinary Tory party members are against redefining marriage.