UKIP Rises to Record High in ComRes Poll Amid EU Dispute

Support for the U.K. Independence Party rose to a record in a ComRes Ltd. opinion poll as Britain faced a 2.1 billion-euro ($2.7 billion) budget surcharge from the European Union.

The poll for the Independent newspaper conducted Oct. 24-26 found backing for UKIP, which campaigns for withdrawal from the EU and curbs on immigration, rising four percentage points from last month to 19 percent. Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives climbed one point to 30 percent, putting them level with the main opposition Labour Party, which slumped five points.

News of the European Commission’s demand for an extra budget payment from Britain was first reported the day before polling began. Cameron interrupted a meeting of EU government leaders in Brussels on Oct. 24 to protest and said the surcharge raised the chances of Britain leaving the 28-nation bloc.

“Today’s ComRes poll underlines UKIP’s growing appeal to voters turning their backs on both Tories and Labour,” the pollster said in an e-mailed statement.

Almost one in five of respondents who voted Conservative in 2010 say they will vote UKIP, up from 14 percent last month, while about one in 10 former Labour voters plan to switch to UKIP, ComRes found.

UKIP gained its first elected member of the House of Commons this month when Douglas Carswell, who defected from the Conservatives, held his seat in Clacton, eastern England, in a special election for his new party. Polls also show a second defector to UKIP, Mark Reckless, is set to win a by-election in Rochester, southeast of London, next month.

ComRes questioned 1,002 adults for its poll, for which it didn’t specify a margin of error.

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