More than half of Britons would vote to pull out of EU: Euroscepticism has rocketed in just a decadeA poll has revealed 51 per cent of people questioned want to get out of EuropeJust 40 per cent said they wanted to stay inTen years ago a similar poll found we wanted to stay in Europe by a margin of 68 per cent to 19 per cent
23:24 GMT, 26 December 2012
As it is revealed more than half of Britons would pull out of EU, David Cameron will finally make a speech setting out his vision for the UK's relationship with Europe
Britain is becoming a more Eurosceptic country – with a majority saying they would vote to leave the EU.
A poll has revealed that 51 per cent of respondents want to get out of Europe, against just 40 per cent who want to stay in.
The survey represents a massive turnaround on a decade ago, when a similar poll found we wanted to stay in Europe by a margin of 68 per cent to 19 per cent.
Euroscepticism has also hardened since the pollsters last asked the same question just over a year ago when 49 per cent wanted to leave, against 40 per cent who wanted to remain in the EU.
The revelation follows months of crisis in the eurozone, including fears over the collapse of the single currency.
And support for UKIP is at its strongest for years, with the anti-Europe party overtaking the Lib Dems in the polls and coming second in the recent Rotherham by-election.
Meanwhile, David Cameron is to finally make a long-anticipated speech setting out his vision for the UK’s relationship with Europe.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce that he will include a pledge in the Tory manifesto to hold a referendum on whether voters want to maintain the status quo, or see powers repatriated from Brussels.
Mr Cameron has faced calls from backbenchers to hold a simple in-out referendum on the EU.
Yesterday Douglas Carswell, Tory MP for Clacton, said: ‘This poll is really significant. We are now seeing a majority wanting to quit.’
The ICM poll for The Guardian shows opponents of the European ideal are particularly determined to leave.
Some 36 per cent said they would definitely vote to pull Britain out, against just 22 per cent who want to stay in.
That compares with 18 per cent who say they would probably want to stay in, and 15 per cent who would probably want to get out. Another 9 per cent did not know.
The revelation follows months of crisis in the eurozone, including fears over the collapse of the single currency
When split along party lines, there is a clear majority among Tory voters in favour of pulling out. The poll shows that 57 per cent of Conservatives want to leave the EU, compared with 44 per cent of Labour voters.
Even among the Lib Dems, the most pro-European party, a third (34 per cent) want out.
Broken down further, it shows 41 per cent of Tories definitely want to leave the EU.
Men are more likely to be anti-Europe with 40 per cent definitely wanting to leave, while only 32 per cent of women take the same view.
The older a person gets, the more anti-European they are. Some 49 per cent of pensioners definitely want to leave, compared with just 16 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24.
Hostility to Europe is more marked in England and less so among professionals.
Only 32 per cent of voters in the top AB social group definitely want to leave the EU, compared with 45 per cent of C2 skilled manual workers.
Whereas in England 38 per cent are in this hardline camp, in Scotland and Wales the figures are 27 and 26 per cent.
Mr Cameron is expected to use his speech to offer a referendum on the terms of EU membership after 2015.
The poll results on how public would vote on a referendum on the European Union
He will demand a new settlement as the price of British support for a major revision of the Lisbon Treaty to underpin new governance arrangements for the eurozone.
A group of Eurosceptic Tories last night called on Mr Cameron to set out two ‘nuclear’ options to European leaders to ensure key British interests are protected in a reformed EU.
A manifesto unveiled by the Fresh Start group said the UK needed to take a hardline stance because Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, wants to deepen the powers of the bloc.
Andrea Leadsom, Tory MP for South Northamptonshire, said option one would be an effective veto over financial services regulations.
Option two would be to join with like-minded states to end the working time directive, which says no one must work longer than 48 hours a week.