Ninety minutes ago I posted about the huge level of support that David Cameron now enjoys from grassroots members. The answers to our questions on the EU Treaty may be less encouraging. We asked members to say whether they agreed with the following statements*:
- The EU Treaty amounts to a significant surrender of British powers and should be opposed: 77% agreed.
- An incoming Conservative government should pass legislation setting British law over EU law on key areas of competence such as social and economic matters: 67% agreed.
- If the Treaty is ratified I would support a referendum that mandated the incoming Conservative government to renegotiate back to the idea of a free trade area: 63% agreed.
- Conservatives should focus on the issue of Brown’s broken referendum promise rather than the specific constitutional implications of the EU Treaty: 59% agreed.
- Once the Treaty has been ratified it will be very difficult to undo and Conservatives would be unwise to promise to do so: 33% agreed.
- The Tories are in danger of talking too much about Europe and should focus on the NHS, crime and other bread and butter issues: 29% agreed.
Reacting to the survey results, Bernard Jenkin MP said:
"We must clearly give serious thought to the consequences of ratifying the Lisbon treaty, alongside our determination to re-patriate employment and social policy. The question is not whether there should be renegotiation, but how it should be achieved."
You can listen to a brief discussion of these findings at 0722 on this morning’s Today programme.
* The survey only asked people to identify whether they agreed with statements – which appeared in a random order to each respondent. It is not possible, therefore, to know what proportion of the 23% who did not agree with the first bullet point statement, for example, were ‘disagreers’ or ‘don’t knows’. In future surveys I will add disagree and don’t know boxes, too.