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UK's Brexit Party maintains big lead in EU election poll

FILE PHOTO: Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage is seen before speaking during a Brexit Party campaign event in Essex, Britain, May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party has kept a big lead over both the ruling Conservative Party and the opposition Labour Party in a poll on voting intentions for the European elections.

According to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer newspaper, Farage’s newly formed party is on 34% of the vote ahead of the May 23 election that Britain is participating in because it failed to leave the European Union as expected at the end of March. The party’s support was unchanged from a week ago.

The poll put Labour in second place on 20%, down 1 percentage point. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives stay in fourth place on 12%, up 1 point. The pro-EU Liberal Democrats, who have explicitly called for a second referendum on Brexit, are on 15%, up 3 points.

The Conservatives and Labour, Britain’s two biggest political parties, endured a drubbing in local elections this month, with voters expressing their frustration over the Brexit deadlock.

Opinium’s poll also showed the Brexit Party overtaking the Conservatives to reach second place in general voting intentions - with Labour on 29%, the Brexit Party on 24% and the Conservatives on 22%.

Farage, whose former party UKIP is credited by many with forcing Britain’s 2016 referendum on EU membership, launched his new party in April, threatening to take on Britain’s political leaders who he accused of betraying the vote to leave.

After failing to get parliament’s approval three times for May’s Brexit deal, the government will now put it before parliament for another vote in early June.

Brexit talks between the government and Labour collapsed on Friday hours after May agreed to set out next month a timetable for her departure.

Britain is now due to leave the bloc in October but with parliament split over the terms, it remains unclear how or whether it will.

Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Peter Graff