Majority of British public wants to leave EU - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Majority of British public wants to leave EU

Conservatives and Ukip 'at war' as ComRes survey for The Independent finds 54 per cent want Britain to leave the EU provided it could keep its close trade relationship with the bloc

The Conservatives and the United Kingdom Independence Party were "at war" tonight as they both rejected a controversial call by a senior Tory for them to forge an electoral pact.

Michael Fabricant, a Tory vice-chairman, exposed his party's fears about Ukip's advance by proposing the anti-EU party stand aside at the 2015 election in return for a referendum on EU membership. The call struck a chord among many Tory MPs but was disowned by the party leadership.

The turmoil came amid fresh evidence that the public is turning against the European Union. A ComRes survey for The Independent found that a majority of people (54 per cent) want Britain to leave the EU provided it could keep its close trade relationship with the bloc, while 36 per cent disagree.

The finding suggests that Eurosceptics who want the UK to withdraw from the EU might be able to win an “in/out” referendum if they could persuade the public that trade ties with the other 26 EU members would not be damaged. Pro-EU campaigners claim Britain would have little say over trade rules if it left.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage contemptuously dismissed the proposal by Michael Fabricant, a Conservative vice-chairman, for an electoral pact with the Tories. Mr Fabricant provoked uproar by suggesting that Ukip could step aside at the next election in return for a promise by the Prime Minister to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership, as The Independent disclosed yesterday.

Mr Farage insisted his party was “at war” with the Tories, declaring that he could not even contemplate speaking to them while Mr Cameron was leader because he had broken a previous promise to hold a Europe referendum.

The Conservatives “categorically” ruled out any prospect of a deal. Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman, said: “I want to win the next election outright of course for the Conservatives so that we have an outright majority and we don’t have to be in coalition.”

A Tory spokesman said: “Michael Fabricant does a great job campaigning in by-elections but he doesn’t speak for the party on this issue. The safest way to protect Britain’s interest in Europe is to vote Conservative. That’s why we’ll have Conservative candidates in every seat at the next election.”

But Mr Fabricant won the support of fellow Tory MP Stewart Jackson, who warned that Ukip could do “very serious damage” to the Conservatives at the ballot box. He called on the Prime Minister to “show real leadership” by calling a referendum on EU membership alongside the next general election.

According to ComRes, people are evenly divided on whether Britain should remain a full member of the EU. Some 46 per cent agree, while 45 per cent disagree. Those aged 18-34 are the most likely age group to agree (71 per cent), compared to 34 per cent of those aged 65 and over.

Labour’s 11-point lead in its last survey for The Independent four weeks ago has dropped to seven points. Labour is on 42 per cent (down two points), the Conservatives 35 per cent (up two points), the Liberal Democrats 10 per cent (down two points) and others 13 per cent (up two points). The figures would give Labour an overall majority of 84.

Ukip is up one point to 6 per cent. Some 7 per cent of people who voted Conservative at the 2010 election now support Ukip, as do 3 per cent those who voted Labour.

ComRes interviewed 1,002 GB adults by telephone between 23-25 November. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all GB adults. Data were also weighted by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week