A Case of Having Their Cake and Eating It?
British Public Want Immigration Controls and Access to the Free Market
Only 18 per cent of the roughly 1,400 people polled by the National Centre for Social Research said the UK should not impose limits on Immigration from the Continent.
Around 85 per cent of those who voted to leave the EU said they wanted to control Immigration, as did 55 per cent of those who voted for Britain to remain. Around 12 per cent were undecided.
At the same time the report found that more than 9 in 10 people wanted Britain to have access to the European single market — regardless of how they voted.
This highlights the dilemma facing the Government when it comes to negotiating a deal for Britain’s exit from the EU. Brussels has made it abundantly clear that the issue of free movement is not up for negotiation.
Lesser of the two evils
When forced to choose between access to the free market and Immigration controls, some 49 per cent thought freedom of movement for EU citizens should be kept if it enabled the UK to keep free trade — with 51 per cent opposed — roughly in line with how the public voted on June 23. A majority of those surveyed also believed the UK financial sector should maintain passporting rights.
Encouragingly, a whopping 89 per cent, believed that all EU citizens already living in Britain should be allowed to stay.
Preference for a soft Brexit
It seems clear from this latest survey that a majority of British people favour a soft Brexit. To retain the popular vote, Theresa May and her cabinet may be required to do what many have long deemed impossible – retain all the benefits of being in the single market without adhering to one of the founding principles of EU membership i.e. free movement.
Can this be done? According to a leaked memo to The Times on Monday, to-date the Government has no agreed plan for leaving the EU. This new information may give them food for thought when it comes to developing a strategy.
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