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Tory members expect "too many tax rises" and little change in Britain's relationship with Europe from a Conservative government

In the final survey of grassroots opinion that ConservativeHome will be publishing this side of the General Election we find members in a sobre mood when it comes to their expectations of what a Conservative government will achieve regarding tax and Europe.

73% are “worried that George Osborne will not cut spending enough but will instead attempt to trim the deficit by too many tax increases”. This worry is reasonable given (a) the long period in which George Osborne resisted pleas to break free of Labour's spending plans and (b) the fact that the party has not yet outlined many sizeable spending cuts.

We then asked "If the Conservative Party wins the next election what do you think Britain's relationship with Europe will be like after David Cameron has completed a full term as Prime Minister?" These were the answers:

  • 20% feared "even more powers will have been lost to Europe";
  • 20% agreed that "the UK-EU relationship will be about the same";
  • 41% answered that "a few powers will be won back but nothing significant";
  • 13% thought that "significant powers will have been won back";
  • 6% answered that "Britain will be on the verge of leaving the EU".

In one sense these results will reassure the Tory leadership. One of the explanations for President Obama's fall in popularity has been inflated and difficult-to-meet expectations. A desire to get rid of Brown will drive Tory voters to the ballot box in large numbers next year and so the 'enthusiasm deficit' isn't a worry yet. Nonetheless, in the longer term, the party needs to give its core vote more good reasons to keep turning out for Conservative candidates. ConHome's Shoestring manifesto offered some suggestions in that regard.

Tim Montgomerie

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