UK's anti-EU party hits new high in poll ahead of Europe vote

LONDON Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:22pm BST

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage (L), and Nick Clegg, leader of Britain's Liberal Democrat party, speak during a debate on Britain's future in the European Union, in London March 26, 2014. REUTERS/Ian West/pool

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage (L), and Nick Clegg, leader of Britain's Liberal Democrat party, speak during a debate on Britain's future in the European Union, in London March 26, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Ian West/pool

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - Voter support for Britain's anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP) is at a record high according to one opinion poll on Sunday, reflecting a wider pattern of growing support for the party ahead of European elections next month.

The rising popularity of UKIP, which calls for an immediate withdrawal from the EU and tighter immigration laws, threatens to split the vote for Prime Minister David Cameron at European parliament elections in May and a national election in 2015.

UKIP's profile has been raised by the upcoming European elections on May 22, when polls suggest it could beat Cameron's party into third place.

A ComRes poll of voting intentions for next year's national election put UKIP on 20 percent - up four percentage points at their highest in the four-year history of the poll. Cameron's Conservatives fell three points to 29 percent.

The main opposition Labour party were steady on 35 percent while the Lib Dems, junior partners in the coalition government, sank 2 percentage points to a new low of 7 percent.

A second poll by Opinium on Sunday showed UKIP three percentage points higher on 18 percent, and another survey released last week by gave the party 15 percent - matching its highest ever rating in polls conducted by Ipsos Mori.

On Thursday Cameron described UKIP's views on the European Union as "extremist" at the launch of his European election campaign.

The boost in support for UKIP comes at the end of a week of negative publicity for Cameron whose authority was dented by the drawn-out resignation of government minister Maria Miller, whom Cameron had doggedly defended, over contested expenses claims.

UKIP, which does not have any elected members in the British parliament, sought to capitalise on the incident, touting their anti-establishment credentials to try to win support away from the Conservatives.

In recent weeks UKIP leader Nigel Farage was judged to have won two high-profile televised debates on Britain's EU policy against Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a pro-European Liberal Democrat.

(Editing by Stephen Powell)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (4)
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
Apparently people are labelled “extremist” for not agreeing with the scumbag political establishment in this country.

Cameron is going to pay for that extremist statement.

Apr 13, 2014 12:42pm BST  --  Report as abuse
mgb500 wrote:
Camoron/Millipede/Cleggy Boy don’t want us peasants thinking for ourselves & walking a different path to the one they’ve planned for us – viz FULL SURRENDER to the 4th Reich & adoption of the euro funny-money!

Apr 13, 2014 3:59pm BST  --  Report as abuse
AOSz wrote:
Funny that Farage who regularly appears on Russia Today is loved by the Moscow propagandists.

Apr 13, 2014 4:11pm BST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.