As the gay marriage bill has its final Commons reading, a Tory MP says members of his local party are angry about claims that Conservative activists were described as “mad, swivel-eyed loons”.
Brian Binley said David Cameron had “done a few things that the party in the country overall didn’t want him to do”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He may believe in them but we are talking about the gap between himself and the party. I think it is a growing gap.”
But Mr Binley said he believed this gap “can be put right” and the prime minister was now listening to his party.
Mr Cameron has written to Conservative members throughout the country following claims that Tory co-chairman Lord Feldman described local activists as “mad, swivel-eyed loons”. Lord Feldman has denied making these comments.
In an email, the prime minister said he would never have anyone close to him who “sneered” at them.
On Monday, the Conservative party board rejected a call for an investigation into whether Lord Feldman, who chairs the board, was behind the remarks.
This morning, I met some activists in Tim Loughton's constituency. There the "swivel-eyed" quotes seemed to wash off their backs, though their MP thought they had the authentic whiff of Notting Hill condescension about them. Ready Gary Gibbon's blog.
There is tension between the Conservative leader and his party over the government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage.
A Conservative MP’s amendment to the legislation, which could have scuppered the government’s bill, was defeated in the Commons on Monday, but only after Labour MPs came to the prime minister’s rescue. The bill has its third and final Commons reading on Tuesday.
In his email to party members, Mr Cameron said: “Time and again, Conservative activists like you stand for duty, decency and civic pride. That’s why I am proud to lead this party. I am proud of what you do. And I would never have around me those who sneered or thought otherwise.
“We are a team, from the parish council to the local association to parliament, and I never forget it.”