A Dods/ ICM poll for the House Magazine suggests that Conservative MPs are much more concerned about international security than the global environment.  The survey (which, I am told, included not less than 40 backbench and frontbench Tory MPs) asked MPs of all three main parties to identify their top three priorities.  81% of Conservative MPs said international security was a top priority.  38% said financial stability.  Another 38% said NHS reform.

21% of Tory MPs agreed with David Cameron that the environment was a top priority.  The LibDem MPs were most concerned about the environment (75%) and 40% of Labour MPs put green issues on their list of three priorities.  The ICM/ Dods survey chimes with a year-old ConservativeHome survey of Tory members which suggested that economic competition and terror threats were perceived as much bigger international challenges than global warming.

This is the third survey in a row which has attempted to suggest a gap between the party leadership and the wider party.  A YouGov survey for Channel 4 on Monday suggested that voters saw the Tory Party as significantly further to the right than David Cameron.   Earlier this week The Times and Populus got together to suggest that Tory MPs were conflicted on issues of multiracial Britain and gay equality.  Peter Riddell’s conclusion:

"Labour and Conservative MPs are often portrayed by critics of the party system as like Tweedledum and Tweedledee: essentially alike for all the sound and fury of their battle. But this is a false impression. A striking new survey by Populus about the attitudes of MPs reveals not only deep underlying disagreements between Labour and Conservative MPs on key social values, but also big divisions within the Tory party. David Cameron has failed to persuade a large number of his own backbenchers to accept his liberal views on morality and race."

A Tory spokesman disputed The Times/ Populus survey in a statement to PinkNews:

"This Populus survey is hardly conclusive. There were so few responses to the survey that it is unfair to suggest it is representative of our Parliamentary party.  Anyone involved in the Conservative Party will know that, just as in the rest of society, there is widespread acceptance of equal rights for homosexuals and one could expect a proper survey of our MPs to reflect this."

My guess is that a survey of selected candidates would find a much closer correlation with the leadership’s worldview.

Related link: Peter Riddell answers questions about opinion polls on today’s Interviews blog.

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