The Conservative party's Ukip woes continue, with a new ComRes survey showing Nigel Farage's eurosceptic party is set to win the Rochester by-election triggered by the defection of Tory MP Mark Reckless.
The survey showed Ukip on 43 per cent with the Tories trailing on 30 per cent and Labour on a dismal 21 per cent. The Lib Dems could be in danger of losing their deposit, polling a paltry three per cent.
The poll revealed 40 per cent of those who voted for the Conservatives at the 2010 general election planned to switch parties on polling day. Two weeks ago, Douglas Carswell became Ukip's first elected MP, winning by a landslide after capturing 60 per cent of the vote.
The stakes are higher than usual for a by-election with David Cameron's party flooding the Rochester constituency with activists, MPs and cabinet ministers. The Tories have increasingly been talking up the prospect of tough new measures to crack down on EU migration to counter the Ukip threat.
However, the outgoing president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, poured cold water on the suggestion on Sunday saying measures to halt EU migration would be illegal.
Chairman of the Conservative party Grant Shapps responded to Barroso on these pages saying: "If the British people want greater control over our borders and a say on Europe, that is what our Prime Minister will fight for. No ifs. No buts."