A new YouGov poll of more than 800 Conservative Party activists shows 59% totally oppose legislation to allow for same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

Only 24% of those surveyed were in total support of the government’s marriage reforms. The results show that the vast majority of the 852 Conservative Party members surveyed had a negative view of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

It also suggested that 19% – almost one in five – of Conservative members are seriously considering voting for the UK Independence Party at the next general election. 

Unlike the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, UKIP is officially opposed to marriage rights for same-sex couples and only supports civil partnerships.

Last month, Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said David Cameron’s championing of equal marriage had “fuelled the rise of UKIP”.

Conservative equal marriage supporters such as Crispin Blunt MP and former MP Michael Portillo have predicted that division over the issue will die away for the party, with the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill now on its final approach to becoming law.

Following June’s decisive second reading House of Lords vote, Mr Portillo said: “Parliament has voted and as I say big majorities have been achieved in both Houses – end of issue, over.”

On Monday, in an interview with the London Evening Standard, equal marriage opponent and former defence secretary Liam Fox said: “We have moved on. It’s behind us already.”

Last December, a poll carried out by the ConservativeHome website found that 71% of Tory supporters stated that equal marriage was splitting the party.