Nigel Farage's Brexit Party ahead in the opinion polls
NIGEL Farage's newly-formed Brexit Party has more than tripled its lead over the Torys in the latest opinion polls on the European parliament elections.
The party failed to register in time to field candidates in the local government election, where the Conservatives suffered the loss of more than 1,300 councillors.
The latest Optimum survey, carried out on behalf of the Observer newspaper, put the Brexit Party on 34 per cent, with Labour on 21 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 12 per cent.
The Conservative Party is lagging behind on 11 per cent, with many voters seeing the election as a second referendum on EU membership.
A poll by ComRes recorded similar results.
The Brexit Party is not fielding candidates in Northern Ireland but is expected to make huge gains in England and Wales.
Farage's party favours a 'no deal' claiming a clean break from Europe is how the majority of British voters want Brexit to proceed.
Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to step down once a withdrawal agreement has been agreed in the House of Commons, however still smarting from the local elections, a similarly poor result in the European election could hasten her departure.
Tory Education Secretary Damian Hinds told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme on Sunday that the elections would be difficult for his party and that "for some people this is the second referendum".
In a heated exchange between the BBC journalist and Mr Farage, the Brexit leader told Andrew Marr there had been "a breakdown in trust" between people and politicians.