Over half of Brits want to leave EU, ‘out’ campaign poll shows

© Francois Lenoir
Over half of Britons would vote to leave the European Union, a poll conducted on behalf of the ‘out’ campaign revealed on Friday, with just 47 percent of respondents suggesting they want Britain to remain part of the bloc.

The results come as two major London hedge-funds have signaled they will pump millions of pounds into the ‘in’ campaign. 

The poll was carried out by Survation, which said the results mark the first sample of public opinion since Prime Minister David Cameron outlined his demands for a renegotiation of the terms of Britain’s membership of the bloc.

Cameron has said he wants to stay in a reformed EU and will call a referendum before the end of 2017. However, he said if his demands are not met then he could campaign to leave.

The results show 53 percent of the 2,007 respondents to take the survey between November 9 and 11 are in favor of leaving the EU. It also found some 22 percent are confident Cameron can secure a beneficial agreement.

Most of the respondents want Cameron to focus on negotiating more secure borders and restrict benefits for migrants.

Last week, Cameron laid out his terms for renegotiation. In a letter to president of the EU, Donald Tusk, he said he wants to change welfare payments to migrants, install safeguards for countries outside the eurozone, promote more business competition and for Britain to be excluded from the principle of “ever closer union.

Following Cameron’s letter, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the PM had “already surrendered” and was “doing nothing” to address the public’s concerns about Europe.

However, the ‘in’ campaign received a boost on Friday when two major hedge-fund managers said they would provide financial support for the movement.

The announcement will come as a relief to Cameron, who had previously feared that fund managers, frustrated by Brussels’ attempts to impose strict regulation, may bankroll the ‘out’ campaign.

While the ‘out’ campaign is still expected to receive ample funding from hedge-funds, Winton Capital and Egerton Capital both expressed their support for the EU.

Founder of Winton Capital, David Harding, will join the board of the ‘in’ campaign and will donate several million pounds. He told the Financial Times that European markets benefit British financial firms.

“I consider Europe to be a home market for us. The benefits of a successful European capital markets union to a firm like ours and to the financial services industry would be great.”

A friend of John Armitage, founder of Egerton Capital, said he was “fighting against the Little Englanders on the out campaign. Who is going to be negotiating trade deals with the US if we’re outside Europe?”