By Tim Montgomerie
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The latest ConservativeHome survey of Tory members is reported in today's Independent.
We find that the PM's veto has, not surprisingly, won the overwhelming support of Tory members.
- 92% think David Cameron was right to say "no". 5% disagree.
- 70% think it was the best moment of his premiership. 22% disagree.
- 52% agree the veto "was as big a moment in British politics as Margaret Thatcher winning a rebate from the EU". 37% disagree.
Every Tory MP will agree with these results. In the days before Christmas a good number of them told me that enthusiasm levels inside Associations were very high. High energy levels among activists is good news for Boris Johnson as he prepares for the important ground war against Ken Livingstone.
Members aren't getting carried away, however, and think it may be some time before the UK-EU relationship changes significantly. Although by 54% to 27% there is agreement that the veto is the start of a process that will lead Britain to become more and more detached from the EU, 45% think it is "of exaggerated importance and it won't be long before we realise Britain's relationship with the EU will continue as before". There is a danger that Eurosceptics will become disillusioned and mischief-maker-in-chief Kevin Maguire predicts as much today:
"Eurosceptics will wake up with the mother of all hangovers in 2012. The isolationists were bonkers to celebrate Dave’s 26-1 defeat in Brussels as a great victory. Because sidelined Cameron’s considerably weaker, I’m delighted to sneer, in his quest to abandon European laws so it’s easier for bosses to sack British workers. Cameron will spend much of this year rebuilding burned bridges with Germany’s Angela Merkel. And the insatiable Eurosceptics will turn on their hero, realising he isn’t going to deliver what he promised."
It's vital that Cameron proves Maguire wrong and doesn't squander the new enthusiasm within Tory ranks. At the end of last month, 73% of members were satisfied with Cameron's performance and 28% were dissatisfied. Post-veto the number of satisfieds has increased to 82% and the number dissatisfied has fallen to 18%.
Another survey result: Tory members feel closest to the politics of Margaret Thatcher and Boris Johnson
CONSERVATIVEHOME SURVEY OF 1,566 TORY MEMBERS, 22ND and 23RD DECEMBER.