Brits want a hard Brexit that is soft in the middle – survey

The British government faces a tricky balancing act during two years of Brexit negotiations as the public want to end freedom of movement but maintain free trade within the European Union, a National Centre of Social Research survey says.

SHOWS: LONDON, ENGLAND,UK (MARCH 21, 2017) (REUTERS – The British public want the government’s Brexit deal to retain free trade within the EU but end freedom of movement, a survey released on Tuesday (March 21) said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union under Article 50 of the EU treaty on March 29, kicking off two years of exit negotiations.

European Union leaders have said post-Brexit Britain can only get access to the EU’s single market if it accepts the freedom of movement of workers.

This will cause a political dilemma for the British government as 68 percent of voters hope for a “hard Brexit” and an end to freedom of movement, while 88 percent are in favour of a “soft Brexit” and the continuation of free trade, a National Centre of Social Research (NatCen) survey said.

Immigration, including the arrival of large numbers of people from the EU’s poorer east, was a major issue during the British referendum campaign that ended with a vote for “Brexit”.

On the streets of London, which voted to remain in last year’s referendum, commuters were hopeful for the “best deal possible”.

The NatCen survey was carried out between early February to early March 2017 and based on 2,322 people – half remain voters, and half leave voters.


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