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British voters back a hard Brexit

The British public overwhelmingly backs a hard exit from the EU. A major new study from the LSE and Oxford University shows even Remain voters now generally reject the soft Brexit policies advocated by the anti-Brexit lobby.

Published: August 13, 2017, 9:43 am

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    London

    Britain is certainly not deeply divided over Brexit, as both leavers and remainers are broadly united behind leaving the EU on almost every major issue. The study, seen by BuzzFeed, has revealed the majority support.

    Some 67 percent of people surveyed prefer the so-called “no deal” outcome to a soft Brexit, while 68 percent of people surveyed would choose a hard Brexit over a soft Brexit. Remain voters tend to support so-called hard Brexit positions on most major negotiation points.

    The majority of Remain voters even oppose the continuation of free movement. Instead, they tend to back “some” or “full” control over UK borders, even if that means lower EU immigration levels than now.

    Remain voters do not want the UK to be subject to “all EU laws and all ECJ decisions” and they tend to support paying a smaller rather than larger divorce bill to the EU, and would support paying no bill at all. Remain voters furthermore, do not support continuing massive payments to the EU at all.

    As professor Sara Hobolt of the LSE noted: “Overall… there is on aggregate higher levels of support for outcomes that resemble the ‘hard Brexit’ position put forward by the government. Remain voters are willing to acknowledge that there are key negotiation outcomes – e.g. limits to freedom of movement – that they may not like, but that these outcomes still respect the referendum vote and are therefore legitimate. In other words, Remain voters concede that the features that lead them to prefer a particular negotiation outcome do not, in fact, respect the referendum.”

    The study will be seen as a decisive blow to the establishment whose views are evidently not shared by the country as a whole. This exposes the likes of Tony Blair as having the extreme position relative to the ordinary voter.

    Blair has called Brexit a “catastrophe”, but Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, said the EU debate was over and Blair’s speech was “insulting the intelligence of the electorate”. Johnson said; “I respectfully say to Tony Blair, who urges the British people to rise up, I urge them to rise up and turn off the TV next time Blair comes on with his condescending campaign.”

    In all but 11 of 42 possible Brexit scenarios presented to the 3 293 participants, Remain and Leave voters were within five percentage points of one another, which offers conclusive proof that the British public backs Brexit.

    karin@praag.org

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