A poll of 144 Conservative Party candidates has found that just under two-thirds support giving same-sex couples the same rights as straight married couples.

The research, conducted by ConservativeHome, asked candidates in the 220 most winnable areas their views on a number of issues. The replies are anonymous.

Regarding equal rights for gays, 62 per cent said same-sex couples should get the same rights as straight married people. Thirty-one per cent disagreed, while seven per cent said they did not know.

When asked whether they would have voted for US president Barack Obama, respondents were evenly split with 47 per cent saying yes, while the same number said no.

Fifty-eight per cent agreed the Iraq war was “wrong in retrospect”, while 81 per cent wanted greater use of nuclear power.

In terms of the EU, ten per cent wanted to retain the status quo, 47 per cent wanted some repatriation of powers and 38 per cent wanted fundamental renegotiation. Five per cent wanted withdrawal.

The research follows a previous survey from the blog, which suggested that the number of openly gay Tory MPs could treble.
The research looked at candidates in Tory-held and the top 200 target seats. While it did not specifically ask candidates about their sexuality, it did ask them what kind of politician they thought they were.

In seven cases, respondents voluntarily made reference to it, or were already known to be openly gay.