One of Britain's leading think tanks has revealed its preidction of the likelihood a British exit from the EU.
Open Europe, which launched its "Brexit barometer" last night, estimated Britain had a 17 per cent chance of leaving the EU. The estimate will dash the hopes of Eurosceptics who are banking on public dissatisfaction with the EU model to secure a vote for secession.
Speaking to EurActiv, Open Europe's Raoul Ruparel said:
At the moment, the General Election is the biggest factor. After the election, more nuances that will come to the fore, [including] how the reform agenda is approached, what is happening in the Eurozone and what is happening domestically.
Open Europe's comes hot on the heels of a YouGov poll showing support for EU membership is at an all-time high. Some 45 per cent of voters said they don't want a Brexit, compared with 35 per cent who would choose to leave. The number represents the largest lead for the pro-EU camp since YouGov's records began.
In a speech to the EEF Manufacturers' organisation conference yesterday, Labour leader Ed Miliband attempted to signal his pro-business credentials by reiterating his support for the EU.
Open Europe calculates the possibility by weighing up the chances of who will win the General Election and then the subsequent chance of a referendum of EU membership. This is then multiplied by the probability of a vote to leave the EU.
If the Conservatives win the General Election, David Cameron has promised a renegotiation of Britain's terms of membership followed by a referendum.