David Cameron is given a warning of the threat posed by the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party as he enters a critical phase in the life of his government.
An ICM opinion poll for The Sunday Telegraph shows that a key group of Right-of-centre voters are much more attracted to Ukip’s policies on immigration, government spending and same-sex marriage than to the Tories’ stance on the issues.
This same group — made up of those who have yet to decide which of the two parties to support — also rates Ukip’s Nigel Farage as a better party leader than the Prime Minister. The group make up one in 10 of all voters and their support is crucial to Mr Cameron’s chances of electoral success.
The poll comes at the start of Budget week amid fears among Conservative MPs and activists that Ukip will perform well in May’s local elections, placing Mr Cameron’s future under further scrutiny.