The UK didn’t vote for a Brexit without a plan. Before Article 50 we need much broader negotiations
Two-thirds (66%) of voters want to see a broader team negotiating Brexit, including cross-party politicians, trade unions and employers. That’s the finding of a new GQRR poll we’re publishing today. That went for both remainers (69%) and leavers (65%). Only 10% of respondents thought the government should be acting unilaterally.
The poll also showed that Brexit was a verdict on elites as much as it was on the EU. More than two-thirds of Leave voters (71%) said politicians, business leaders and other members of the ‘establishment’ had “let most ordinary people down” (54% for remain voters). I think that’s a sign that many voters want more control over their lives – be it more security at work, better jobs in their area or fairer pay. And it’s a sign that the new Prime Minister has to listen, and make sure that Brexit negotiations deliver the best deal possible for working people broadly.
Although immigration was important in why people voted, the vote was certainly not all about immigration. A quarter of Leave voters (28%) didn’t regard immigration as one of their three most important reasons for voting to leave. Overall, just 43% of voters listed immigration as one of their most important considerations.
The poll also showed that concern about immigration has actually fallen since 2013. The proportion of people who think “it is essential for the immigration system to reduce the number of migrants coming to Britain” is down from 73% then to 62% now. The EU referendum campaign even increased support for free movement. In March, voters were against free movement by a margin of 8 points; in June they were in favour by 8 points. Nearly two-thirds of voters (64%) think EU nationals currently living and working in the UK should be guaranteed the right to remain.
A majority (58%) of voters would oppose an immediate “Brexit cuts budget”, with opposition highest amongst Leave supporters (65%). Just 17% supported plans for a cuts budget.
And the vast majority of Remain and Leave voters also back post-Brexit policies of safeguarding vital rights like maternity leave (73% of Remain and 69% of Leave voters) and maintaining protection against discrimination at work (80% of Remain voters and 77% of Leave voters).
Overall the findings paint a picture of people choosing how to vote at the referendum for a range of reasons. It was not a straightforward call for immediate exit from the EU without a plan.
That’s why we’re calling for reflection before Article 50 is triggered and the countdown is started. Leaving the EU has to be done carefully, and with the involvement of people from across British society – not just politicians, and certainly not just one party.
We need a proper plan for life outside the EU. If we rush, lasting damage will be done to our economy and to the livelihoods of working people.