The majority of Conservatives want to bring back the death penalty as a punishment, a major study of political activists has found.
Academics have branded Tory members a “breed apart” from their Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP counterparts after research revealed stark differences between them on a range of issues.
The report by Queen Mary University of London found 54 per cent of Conservatives were in favour of the death penalty, compared to 23 per cent of SNP supporters, 9 per cent of Labour activists and 8 per cent of Lib Dem backers.
Some 84 per cent of Tories believed schools should teach children to obey authority, while 38 per cent of SNP and Lib Dem members backed such a move and 31 per cent of Labour members.
Just 41 per cent of Tory members supported gay marriage, while at least eight of 10 members of the other three parties surveyed backed it, according to the report, which was based on polling by YouGov.
Meanwhile, only 11 per cent of Conservatives believed austerity had gone too far, compared to 98 per cent of Labour members, 93 per cent of SNP supporters and 75 per cent of Lib Dems.
Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said: “Britain’s party members are the lifeblood and the footsoldiers of our democracy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they look like or think like their parties’ voters – or, indeed, look or think like each other.
“The Tory grassroots in particular are something of a breed apart from their Labour, Lib Dem and SNP counterparts.”