Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Most Tories want UK to pull out of Europe

A majority of Conservative Party members want the UK to leave the EU. A poll of 1,566 party members, carried out by the Conservative Home website, shows that David Cameron delighted the Tory grassroots by vetoing a new EU treaty at this month's summit in Brussels.

But the survey also suggests that he may have created hopes of forging a more detached relationship with the EU that he may find difficult to fulfil - and that he will come under pressure from his party to continue to prove his Eurosceptic credentials. If he does, he would risk fuelling tensions with the Liberal Democrats and his fellow EU leaders. If he does not, he would upset many of his party's activists.

Some 54% of Tory members say their ideal vision of the relationship is for the UK to leave the EU and sign up to a free trade agreement. Although that view is shared by a minority of Tory MPs, the poll suggests the party's grassroots is more in tune with the policy of Ukip, which wants Britain to pull out of the EU.