The Conservatives' hopes of securing a majority at the next general election have been hit by a new poll which shows that a hung parliament remains a possible outcome.
The Times/Populus poll put the Conservatives down one point to 39 per cent, with Labour also down one point to 29 per cent and the Liberal Democrats unchanged on 18 per cent. If repeated at a general election, the figures would give David Cameron's party a Commons majority of only two.
In a sign that Cameron's decision to abandon his pledge to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty has damaged his party, support for the UK Independence Party rose two points to 4 per cent. With the exception of the two months around June's European elections, this is the party's highest level of support since 2005.
A slim majority of voters, 48 per cent, support Cameron's line that "it would be pointless to have a referendum on Europe unless specific further changes in Britain's relations with the EU were being proposed", with 46 per cent believing there "should be a referendum early in the next Parliament on the general issue of Britain's relations with the EU". But among Conservative voters support for a referendum rises to 59 per cent, with only 39 per cent of Tories supporting their party's policy.