Ukip support surges following Maria Miller expenses scandal, poll finds

Support for Nigel Farage's party increased by four points to 15 per cent

After failing to save his embattled Culture Secretary, Prime Minister David Cameron was dealt a further blow on Thursday as an exclusive poll revealed that support for Ukip hit record levels during the Maria Miller expenses scandal.

As Mr Cameron officially launched the Conservatives’ European elections campaign, Ipsos MORI disclosed that backing for Nigel Farage’s anti-EU party has surged to 15 per cent - its joint highest rating yet, the London Evening Standard reported.

The survey was conducted from Saturday to Monday, while Mr Cameron was backing the now resigned Mrs Miller, and for many Tories it will provide confirmation that Ukip was helped by the scandal.

The Tories are down a point since March to 31 per cent, putting them six points behind Labour, who are up two points to 37 per cent.

The Lib Dems are down 4 points to 9 per cent – but Ukip enjoyed an increase of four points, taking them to 15 per cent.

The findings indicate that Nick Clegg’s decision to challenge Mr Farage to two live television debates backfired. Mr Farage’s personal rating is up from 31 to 40 per cent, which is the highest of the four main leaders.

Mr Cameron maintained his lead as the most capable prime minister, beating Ed Miliband by 34 to 40 per cent.

However, the prime minister is also viewed as the most “out of touch leader”, while eight in 10 people share Mr Milband’s view that there is a “cost of living crisis” in Britain.

Perhaps more worrying for the Tories is  the disparity between the party’s overall popularity and the individual popularity of Chancellor George Osborne.

The poll showed that Osborne delivered the most popular Tory budget for a generation and has the highest satisfaction rating of any Tory Chancellor since 1980.

More than four in ten people think the Budget was good for them and nearly half say it was good for the UK. This is the best personal score for a Tory since Nigel Lawson in 1987 paved the way for Margaret Thatcher’s third election victory.

Nearly half the public are satisfied with Mr Osborne as Chancellor.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, told the London Evening Standard: “George Osborne’s Budget has gone down well with the public. But it hasn’t yet had the impact they might have hoped, as its shine for the Conservatives has been rubbed off by the Maria Miller scandal and Ukip’s rise.”

A senior Lib-Dem minister said of the Clegg-Farage debate backfiring: “We achieved what we set out to do, which was to show we are the only party prepared to fight to defend our EU membership.”

Launching the Tory Euro-elections campaign, Mr Cameron said the Tories were the only party making “real change in Europe that works for you".

“Three words sum up everything we are about in Europe: Britain’s National Interest,” he said.

Read more: Maria Miller resignation
Ukip is not 'anti-immigration'
Clegg has no regrets after TV debate defeat
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test