By Tim Montgomerie
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A ComRes poll for tomorrow's People is another sign that the Eurosceptic, centre right vote is becoming worryingly divided. ComRes give the following vote shares for next year's European elections (I've put the gain on last time's results in brackets)…
- Labour – 35% (+19%)
- UKIP – 23% (+6%)
- Conservative – 22% (-6%)
- Liberal Democrat – 8% (-5%)
- Green – 5% (-3%)
- SNP – 4% (+2%)
- BNP – 2% (-4%)*
- Plaid Cymru – 1% (more or less unchanged)
We know, of course, that UKIP won't get anything like 23% in the following year's general election but the Tory challenge is to get UKIP down to something close to the 3% that they won in 2010 or they'll be the difference between Conservatives holding seats and losing them. All of the evidence suggests that UKIP is taking many more votes from the Conservative Party than Labour. While Europe isn't the only or even the top issue of concern to UKIP voters it is the party's fundamental purpose. Unless Cameron commits to an In/Out vote in his looming speech I can't see how we are going to begin to cap the Farage phenomenon. If tmrw's Mail on Sunday is a clue to Cameron's mood (see right) I'm not sure he's in the right place to tackle UKIP. It may be why George Osborne might be positioning himself to be the sceptic to Cameron's enthusiast.
* The only good news in those figures is that, as expected, Britain should
no longer be sending left-wing racists to the European Parliament.