A survey by the grassroots Tory website ConservativeHome suggests dropping reform of the House of Lords and equal marriage rights for gay couples ranks seventh among readers in a list of ways to improve the party’s chances at the next general election.
1,419 Tory members scored 23 campaign ideas on the likelihood they would hurt or hinder the party at the next election.
The seventh most popular of the ideas put to Conservatives was ‘Dropping controversial policies like House of Lords reform and gay marriage’.
However, there were not separate options for Lords reform or marriage rights for gay couples, so it is not possible to determine whether Lords reform or marriage was the more controversial.
The government this week announced it would not be pursuing the controversial Lords reforms but has maintained its commitment to marriage equality, which is similarly supported by Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Ideas for Tory success were rated between -5 and 5, with -5 being the least helpful to reach a majority in 2015 and 5 being the most helpful.
The most popular policies with Conservative members polled by ConservativeHome and their relative scores were:
4.16 / Signs of reasonable economic recovery
3.59 / A successful debt reduction policy
3.52 / A plan to cut taxes and energy bills for ordinary families
3.35 / Stronger policies on crime and immigration
3.33 / Replacement of the Human Rights Act
3.11 / A bankable promise to deliver an EU referendum
2.95 / Dropping controversial policies like House of Lords reform and gay marriage
2.64 / A strong commitment to protect the NHS
2.49 / End of the Barnett formula that favours Scotland in distribution of public funding
2.40 / Cut foreign aid and spend the savings on Britain’s poorest pensioners
Editor Tim Montgomerie, who has recorded a video in support of marriage equality for the Out4Marriage campaign, wrote that there was “a belief (misplaced in my view) that dropping David Cameron’s support for a policy like gay marriage (ranked seventh) will be more potent than, for example, recommitting to the NHS (ranked eighth).
“That overstates the potency of the gay marriage issue and understates the importance of the NHS. I’d have re-establishment of our NHS credentials near the top of my list of election-winning ideas.”