One of the early aims of David Cameron’s leadership was to alter the perception (and the reality) that the Conservative Party was homophobic.
So presumably he’ll be dismayed to learn that, according to a new Pink News poll, gay support for the Tories has plummeted from 39 per cent in June 2009 to just nine per cent today. That’s lower than the 17 per cent recorded by Michael Howard in 2005.
Under our electoral system, small swings such as this could hurt the Tories in just the sort of Lib Dem marginals they need to win to secure an overall majority.
Unsurprisingly, a significant number of voters have been put off by Chris Grayling’s extraordinary defence of the right of B&B owners to turn away gay couples and by Cameron’s subsequent refusal to condemn him.
More recently, the decision of Anastasia Beaumont-Bott, the founder of LGBTory, to defect to Labour and to accuse the Conservatives of an “elaborately executed deception” on gay policy has also damaged the party.
But the slide in gay support can be traced back further, to Cameron’s shameful decision to form a new EU alliance with several homophobic Eastern European parties
Elsewhere, the poll shows that the Lib Dems have replaced Labour as the party of choice for gay voters. Support for Nick Clegg’s party has increased from 20 per cent in 2005 to 58 per cent today, while support for Labour has dropped from 29 per cent to 21 per cent today.
As for the Tories, it looks like Cameron will have to “detoxify” his party all over again.