A majority of British voters back leaving the European Union for the first time, according to a shock poll.
The Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday found that if a referendum were held tomorrow 51 per cent would vote to quit the EU against 49 per cent who would vote to remain.
The findings run counter to a string of recent polls which have consistently shown comfortable majorities in favour of staying in.
As recently as July, a Survation poll gave the ‘in’ camp a 54 per cent to 46 per cent advantage.
Politicians will be wary of reading too much into one survey, particularly given the closeness of the margin.
But it is likely to set alarm bells ringing in Downing Street ahead of David Cameron’s promised referendum.
The Prime Minister, who wants Britain to stay within a reformed EU, had hoped to make the most of public support for Europe with an early vote next autumn.
The referendum must take place before the end of 2017.