Is there alien life out there? - Lib Dems say "yes"
LIFE is out there on other planets – at least, that is what our politicians think.
And Liberal Democrat supporters are the party members most likely to believe in aliens, startling new findings have revealed.
A survey carried out by research company Ipsos MORI showed that, of all the political parties, 25 per cent of Lib Dems quizzed over whether they believed life would be found on Mars this year said yes.
It compared to 18 per cent of Labour voters and 16 per cent of Conservatives.
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It was just one of a range of questions asked by the firm about voters' predictions for 2013.
Cheltenham Mayor Colin Hay (LD, Oakley) said the results of the survey showed backers of his party were possibly more open-minded than their counterparts.
"I'm not sure what the survey proves really, but I suppose you could say that perhaps Lib Dem voters are a bit more open-minded than your average voter," he said.
"I don't think it shows they are gullible – perhaps just that they are prepared to believe there is something out there."
However, Mr Hay said he did not believe Cheltenham was under threat of an alien invasion any time soon.
And he admitted he had his doubts over whether there really was life out beyond the stars.
"Personally I don't believe in aliens," he added.
"If there was life on Mars it would be bacteria but I doubt very much if there is intelligent life.
"I don't think there is any reason for us to panic just yet."
Fellow Lib Dem councillor Charles Stewart (All Saints) said was a firm believer in extra-terrestrial life.
He urged the people of Cheltenham to keep an open mind over whether there was something out there.
"I believe in aliens," he said.
"There is so much we don't know about I'm of the view that you can't rule anything out until the proof is there in front of you.
"Perhaps this shows we Lib Dems are more likely to reserve judgement until we have the full facts."
Asked whether he thought an alien landing was more likely than the Liberal Democrats winning a majority in Government, Mr Stewart remained diplomatic.
"I'd better not say," he added. "They are both probably some way off."
In carrying out the survey, Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,015 adults aged 18 and over across the country.
The results, released this week, found that Tory voters had the most positive outlook about the country's economy, with just 46 per cent expecting another recession against Labour's 71 per cent and 60 per cent of Lib Dems.
It also showed that Labour supporters were the most concerned about a repeat of the 2011 riots taking place this year, with 37 per cent of people questioned saying they thought it "very likely" compared to 25 per cent of Lib Dems and 26 per cent of Tories.
And a fifth of Lib Dems believe this will be the year Prince Harry gets engaged – more than Conservatives on 18 per cent and Labour on 19 per cent.
Last April, residents in Gloucester claimed they had seen a UFO hovering above the city.
There have been nine alien and UFO reports to Gloucestershire police in the past three years and, where appropriate, information has been sent to the Ministry of Defence.