Since Mr Cameron took over in 2005, party membership has dropped by 60 per cent from 300,000 to below 130,000 members.
Last month Mr Cameron was given a strong warning by 20 of the party’s most senior members that a failure to change track on same-sex ‘marriage’ would result in membership plunging below the psychologically crucial 100,000 mark.
One senior source told the Daily Mail:
“The Prime Minister was told bluntly that gay marriage was causing membership to haemorrhage – Cameron was unmoved and said the members were out of step with the country.”
A different source told the Daily Mail:
“He [David Cameron] doesn’t seem to care that it’s the party members who canvass on doorsteps across the country in all weathers. They lick envelopes, hold fundraisers and at elections drive our older supporters to polling stations.
“These people are our mainstay and they are abandoning us. Our party is dying on its feet.”
It has also been claimed that the policy could cost the Conservative Party a large number of votes at the next election.
A national poll conducted by ComRes on the effects of redefining marriage showed that the Conservative Party could lose 1.1 million votes and 30 parliamentary seats to UKIP or to supporters boycotting the election in protest.
According to one ComRes poll, more than half (56 per cent) of Mr Cameron’s constituents who voted for him in 2010 are opposed his plans to redefine marriage.
And three quarters of those who will not be voting Conservative again in the next election say that their change of heart is due to David Cameron’s plan to redefine marriage.
Andrew Hawkins, the chairman of ComRes, said:
“It’s the way it has been handled that has done so much damage. The Government has a consultation, but says it is pressing ahead whether people like it or not.”
Conservative support is now at critical levels in many areas of the country. Harlow, Enfield North and Enfield Southgate each now have an association membership of around 100.
Crawley and Pendle in Lancashire have a combined membership of 100. Each of these is a relatively decisive marginal for the Conservatives.
Constituencies in what is known as ‘True Blue’ Bournemouth together account for 300 members, and Finchley, Margaret Thatcher’s old constituency, is down from 1,000 to 300 members.
A senior party official stated:
“Gay marriage is the final straw. In London, Bristol, Birmingham and other major cities, there are dozens of constituencies with no party organisation at all.”
“The voluntary party is virtually extinct in Scotland and in parts of Wales.
“We are relying on a dwindling band of volunteers, the majority of whom are in their 70s. It’s the most desperate situation the party has ever faced.”
Mr Cameron however reaffirmed last week, at a reception in Downing Street for homosexual activists, that he will press on regardless to deliver same-sex ‘marriage’ by 2015.