EXCLUSIVE: One Third of Tories Won't Vote Conservative in 2015 over Maria Miller Episode
Over a third of 2010 Conservative Party voters have said they would be less likely to vote Conservative at the next general election due to the party's support for and handling of the Maria Miller expenses episode.
In a poll conducted by Survation on behalf of Breitbart London and Conservative Grassroots, 34 percent of people who voted for David Cameron's Conservative Party at the last general election said they would reconsider their voting preference on the basis of the actions of Cabinet Minister Maria Miller, and the Prime Minister's handling of the incident. Just 14 percent said that the situation would not affect their voting intentions negatively.
The poll will come as a blow to Conservative Party strategists currently operating on an "every vote counts" basis. Losing a third of their voter base in 2015 would lead to a landslide Labour victory, with most Conservative marginal seats falling to opposition parties.
A YouGov poll from April 2nd shows the Conservative Party already behind Labour by six points, with the Liberal Democrats on 10 and UKIP on 13 percent respectively.
At the same time, just 15 percent of voters said that the PM had shown "effective leadership" in his handling of the issue, with over half of those polled claiming that Cameron lacked the qualities they desired in a Tory leader.
Benjamin Harris-Quinney, director of Conservative Grassroots said: "What we have seen in this poll is a clear signal that it is Conservatives that are most concerned and upset not only by the Maria Miller episode, but perhaps more so the wider issue of malaise among the political classes in terms of serving and representing the people that elected them.
"From Maria Miller's point of view, not resigning is damaging her reputation, but equally, the reputation of the Conservative Party, potentially undoing some of the good work on economic reform delivered by George Osborne's most recent budget".
Only 21 percent of voters said that they were content with the Conservative Party leadership, with half of those polled (49 percent) saying they had no confidence in both David Cameron as prime minister, and Grant Shapps, as Conservative Party Chairman.
Over this past weekend, former cabinet minister and Tory grandee Lord Tebbit argued in his Telegraph blog that the "arrogant" Maria Miller should step down.
"Having staked his authority and reputation on defending his Culture Secretary against calls for her to be fired, the Prime Minister will be damned if he now fires her and damned if he doesn't," wrote Tebbit.
The full results are available here.