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UKIP Hits Poll High as Cameron Faces Third in Europe Elections

U.K. Independence Party Merchandise
U.K. Independence Party merchandise is seen on sale at the UKIP 2014 Spring Conference at the Riviera International in Torquay, England. Photographer: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The U.K. Independence Party, which wants Britain to leave the European Union, hit a polling high as analysis suggested David Cameron’s Conservative Party is headed for third place in European Parliament elections in May.

In a ComRes Ltd. poll asking how people would vote in a general election, UKIP support was up 4 percentage points to 20 percent, the highest it has received in that survey. The opposition Labour Party was unchanged at 35 percent, while the Tories dropped 3 percentage points to 29 percent. Their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, fell 2 percentage points to 7 percent.

“All the main political parties are being hit, and I think it’s more to do with the Maria Miller expenses scandal,” Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey told Sky News yesterday. “It’s part of this lack of trust in the political establishment, and one can sort of understand that.”

Miller, the Culture Secretary, quit on April 9 after an expenses probe and criticism of her 32-second apology to Parliament the previous week. While Cameron had publicly backed Miller, she’d faced pressure to resign from the opposition as well as members of her own party.

Separately, analysis by John Curtice of Strathclyde University published in the Telegraph newspaper suggests Labour is on course to come first in the European elections on May 22, with UKIP second and the Tories third. That may increase pressure on Cameron from his own lawmakers to take a more hostile stance toward the EU.

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