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Britons name anti-EU party their favourite, in blow to PM Cameron

Published on Jan 19, 2014 9:51 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britons named the anti-European Union UK Independence Party (UKIP) as their favourite political party in a poll on Sunday, dealing a setback to British Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of elections to the European Parliament.

The survey came days after another poll showed Mr Cameron's Conservatives are set to finish behind UKIP in the May election, meaning they are on course to finish third in a nationwide vote for the first time.

Though UKIP has no seats in the British Parliament, its popularity is a problem for Mr Cameron because it threatens to split his own vote at a national election in 2015, depriving him of outright victory.

Its strong poll ratings also worry eurosceptic lawmakers in Mr Cameron's own party who want him to adopt a tougher anti-EU stance, something he has balked at, raising the possibility of a damaging internal rift of the kind that contributed to the downfall of the last two Conservative prime ministers.

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