Poll shows half of Britons would vote to leave EU in referendum


Britain’s political leaders have their work cut out ahead of a prospective EU referendum, according to a poll that suggests only one in three people would vote to stay in the union.

The findings, which are likely to spark alarm in pro- European circles, suggest anti-Brussels sentiment is sweeping through the British public.

Given an in/out referendum on EU membership tomorrow, half would vote “out” against 33 per cent “in”, while another 17 per cent would not vote either way, according to the poll by Harris Interactive for the Financial Times.

British prime minister David Cameron, who had resisted numerous calls to hold a referendum, bowed to pressure last month by promising that a Tory government would do so in 2017.

He said that if he won the next election, he would seek to repatriate various powers from Brussels before putting Britain’s EU membership to the public.

Mr Cameron, who will campaign for an “in” vote, said then he had “no illusions about the scale of the task ahead”. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013