The Sunday Times are reporting that Andrew Cooper, formerly of Populus and currently David Cameron’s pollsterÂ has warned the Tories they face embarrassment in the 2014 European Parliament elections, where they could be pushed into second place or worse by UKIP, unless they make a dramatic manifesto pledge to have an in/out referendum.
A source said:
â€œCooperâ€™s polling is clear. Thereâ€™s a real public backlash against the EU and if we donâ€™t do something, UKIP will get the benefit.
Thereâ€™s a real risk that they will beat us into second place in 2014, unless we do something before then.
â€œCooperâ€™s solution is that we should make it clear before the Euro poll that we will offer a referendum if we win the general election in 2015.â€
Cooper’s rationale is based onÂ how the Prime Ministerâ€™s popularity soared after he vetoed a change to the EU treaty last December. The Prime Ministerâ€™s tough stance immediately wiped out Labourâ€™s poll lead.
There is also a fear by Conservatives that if Ed Miliband were to offer a referendum first, and Cameron matched that offer, Cameron would look weak(er), Ed MilibandÂ nor Ed Balls have ruled out a referendum.
Paddy Power have a market on which party will have the most MEPs after the 2014 European elections.
Note: Mike Smithson is on holiday until June 7th.