New poll confirms rise of British anti-EU party

LONDON (AFP) - A new poll out Sunday confirmed a surge in support for Britain's anti-EU UK Independence Party, as Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives fell further behind the Labour opposition.

Right-wingers UKIP hit 17 per cent - a record high in a ComRes poll - in the survey conducted for The Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror newspapers.

The poll put centre-left Labour on 37 per cent, the centre-right Conservatives on 28 per cent and the Liberal Democrats - their centrist partners in the governing coalition - on just nine percent.

Recent poor poll showings have fuelled calls from restive backbench Conservative lawmakers for a decisive shift to the right to counter the electoral threat posed by UKIP, though Cameron has resisted the notion.

UKIP came a shock close second to the Liberal Democrats in a by-election last month in a key Conservative target seat, pushing Cameron's party into third place.

Despite the poll gloom, Cameron remains the only leader more popular than his party.

ComRes interviewed 2,015 British adults online on Wednesday and Thursday.