The Conservative party has attacked a poll by Populus that found over half of Tory MPs do not think gay people should be entitled to equal rights.

The survey of MPs of all parties was widely reported on. Peter Riddell in The Times said:

“David Cameron has failed to persuade a large number of his own backbenchers to accept his liberal views on morality and race.”

The poll, carried out by Populus, spoke to 128 MPs overall, 39 of whom were Tories.

54% of the Conservatives did not think that gay people should have equal rights with heterosexual people.

83% of the 70 Labour MPs and 92% of the 13 Lib Dems polled supported gay rights.

A Conservative party spokesman told PinkNews.co.uk:

“This Populus survey is hardly conclusive. There were so few responses to the survey that it is unfair to suggest it is representative of our Parliamentary party.

“Anyone involved in the Conservative Party will know that, just as in the rest of society, there is widespread acceptance of equal rights for homosexuals and one could expect a proper survey of our MPs to reflect this.”

Tory leader David Cameron has spoken of his support for civil partnerships and the party frontbench supported recent gay rights legislation.

However, in March Tory MPs in the House of Commons forced a vote on the Sexual Orientation Regulations. The regulations passed by 310 votes to 100.

29 Tory MPs voted in favour of the regulations, 85 against.

Ten Labour and four Lib Dem MPs voted against the regulations, which outlawed discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation when accessing goods and services.