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Brexit party opens up nine-point lead in European elections poll

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage arrives on an open top bus for a walkabout and rally in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 24, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit Farage. Photo credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party has opened up a nine-point lead ahead of elections to the European Parliament, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey for the Times put Mr Farage's party on 30% - up two points since last week - to Labour's 21% (down one) and the Conservatives' 13% (unchanged).

The pro-Remain Liberal Democrats are up three points on 10%, while Greens and Change UK each drop a point to 9%.

Ukip was trailing on 4% - down one point on the previous week - in the poll of voting intentions for the May 23 European elections.

In a worrying sign for Prime Minister Theresa May of discontent within her own ranks, more than half (52%) of those who voted Conservative in the 2017 general election said they would back the Brexit Party in the Euro-elections.

Mr Farage's party, launched less than a month ago, was backed by 48% of over-65s taking part in the poll, 60% of those who backed Leave in the 2016 referendum and 31% of those who described themselves as Conservative supporters.

Neither the Brexit Party nor Change UK, the party set up by the breakaway former Labour and Conservative MPs of The Independent Group, are contesting Thursday's local elections in England and Northern Ireland.

Those questioned by YouGov named Brexit as the most important issue facing the UK in the run-up to the Euro-elections, with more than twice as many voters mentioning it as health, crime or the economy.

YouGov questioned 1,630 British adults on April 29 and 30.

Pic by Joe Giddens/PA Wire