PM is under pressure to make EU renegotiation demands more ambitious
He is not seeking curbs on right of EU citizens to move to the UK to work
But two thirds of voters said it would be ‘effective’ way to cut immigration
66% said they thought restricting migrants’ access to benefits would work
Under pressure: Prime Minister David Cameron
David Cameron is under pressure to make his renegotiation demands more ambitious after two-thirds of voters said ending EU free movement was vital for curbing mass migration.
The Prime Minister is not seeking restrictions on the right of EU citizens to move to the UK to work.
But in a Daily Mail poll 64 cent of electors said this would be an ‘effective’ way to cut record immigration.
Some 66 per cent said they thought restricting migrants’ access to benefits would also work.
This is one of Mr Cameron’s four key demands from Brussels – but he is being fiercely resisted by other member states, who say it would be discriminatory.
Three-quarters of adults said a rigorous Australian-style points system for people coming to the UK from outside the EU would be a successful method of curbing migration.
About half of Britons – 53 per cent – said they think that leaving the EU would be effective in reducing the number of migrants.
The poll, by ComRes over the weekend, suggests Mr Cameron’s difficulties in negotiating a deal with Brussels is hitting his party’s ratings.
Over the past month, the Tories’ lead over Labour has been cut to only four points – down from 11 in November. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is up by four points, to 33 per cent, despite major internal rows over the decision to go to war in Syria.
The Tories, who have come under attack as ‘gutless’ for delaying a decision on a third runway at Heathrow, are down three points on 37 per cent. Ukip are unchanged on 11 per cent.
The poll found that the referendum remains up for grabs – with almost a quarter of voters saying they are yet to make up their minds.
The proportion of Britons saying they will definitely vote for the UK to stay in the EU was larger than the proportion saying they will definitely vote for leaving – 27 per cent to 19 per cent.
Around half, 47 per cent, said they will most likely vote for the UK to remain in the Brussels club, compared with 30 per cent who said they will most likely vote to leave it.
But 23 per cent said they were undecided, enough to swing the result either way. Over the past 48 hours, there have been a string of polls suggesting the contest is on a knife-edge.
In a separate survey released today, Open Europe found that – if Mr Cameron is not successful in his key demands that Britain be protected from decisions made by other eurozone countries – 46 per cent of the public would vote to leave.
This compares with 45 per cent who would still wish to remain. As things currently stand, it found 56 per cent of voters would opt to remain in the EU and 35 per cent would opt to leave.
But a failure to restrict new EU migrants’ access to in-work benefits for four years would see support for remaining fall from 56 per cent to 48 per cent, and support for leaving rise from 35 per cent to 45 per cent.
Open Europe’s co-director Raoul Ruparel said the ComRes poll ‘underlines the importance of David Cameron securing a renegotiation package which is seen as credible by swing voters’. He added: ‘The EU should be aware that failing to find a deal on the UK’s key demands will increase the chance of a Leave vote.
‘Similarly, those leading the Remain campaign should be cautious about dismissing the reforms as unimportant, as this poll suggests they matter to the crucial undecided voters.’
An ICM poll for the Vote Leave campaign found 42 per cent of the 2,053 surveyed would vote to remain, 41 per cent would vote to leave and 17 per cent were undecided. If undecideds were excluded, 50 per cent would choose ‘Brexit’ – the first time since 2013 that voters were evenly split.
A poll by Survation for the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe found 42 per cent of the more than 10,000 participants wanted to leave the EU, 40 per cent wanted to remain, and 18 per cent were undecided.
Crisis: Three-quarters of voters said an Australian-style points system for people coming to the UK from outside the EU would be a successful way of curbing migration. Pictured, migrants arrive in Greece last week