Shock poll puts Ukip ahead of Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats have fallen into fourth place behind Ukip in a shock poll result which will cement a sense of crisis in the party.

Just a day after a poll found the Liberal Democrats would be all but wiped out if a general election were held now, a YouGov survey for the Sun put the party on eight per cent – one point behind Ukip.

The result comes as it emerged Liberal Democrat councillors in North Tyneside have wiped all mention of their party from election leaflets in a bid to cling onto their seats.

It will also boost expectations for Ukip's success in the upcoming local elections.

Supporters of the party complained that many London mayoral events – including those of the BBC and the Evening Standard – failed to include the Ukip candidate but made room for Green contender Jenny Jones, despite the party outpolling the Greens on projected seats on the London Assembly.

George Galloway's shock victory in Bradford West also showed how easy it is for fringe groups to outmanoeuvre mainstream parties on their far left or right flank during mid-term votes.

In its wake, pollsters will be expecting a strong performance from Ukip at the start of next month, when local elections are held.

The YouGov survey put Labour on 43% and the Tories on 32%.

A separate Populus poll for the Times put Labour up four per cent on last month and nine points ahead of the Tories.

The result comes as George Osborne's Budget continues to unravel, with rows over the 50p tax rate decision and taxes on pasties, grannies and philanthropy dominating the headlines.