Poll: Voters are willing to extend freedom of movement – but won’t accept ‘a Brexit bill’

70 per cent believe a £20bn exit payment would be unacceptable

 

More than half of voters (54 per cent) think it would be acceptable for the UK to accept continued freedom of movement for a few years after Brexit as part of a transitional deal with the EU, according to new ICM/Guardian polling.

Just shy of half of respondents also said it would be acceptable for EU migrants to be given preferential treatment over non-EU migrants after Brexit, with just 28 per cent opposed.

This may reassure British negotiators, suggesting they have some leeway to make compromises on migration.

No ‘exit bill’

However, the same poll found overwhelming opposition to the idea of paying an ‘exit bill’ anywhere close to what the EU is likely to demand.

It has been widely reported that the EU will require payments of up to £50m, although European leaders insist that it shouldn’t be described as a ‘bill’ but rather represents the UK’s outstanding commitments under existing law.

However, today’s poll finds that 46 per cent of people believe a payment as low as three billion pounds would be unacceptable, while a third say it would be acceptable.

Asked about a £10bn bill, 64 per cent said it would be unacceptable and just 17 per cent said it would be acceptable. And asked about a £20bn bill, just 10 per cent said it would be acceptable while 70 per cent were opposed.

While the UK government has insisted that £50bn is an opening bid by the EU and can be negotiated down, bringing the figure below £20bn will be extremely difficult, according to recent reports.

Additionally, the EU insists that until the financial payment is agreed, no talks on a future trade deal can take place.

The poll also found that 47 per cent believe it would be unacceptable for the UK to continue accepting European Court of Justice rulings as part of a transitional arrangement, while 34 per cent believe it would be acceptable.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.