90 per cent of Brexit backers want to retain the UK's current Single Market access, according to a new poll

Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

A huge majority of voters want the UK to retain Single Market membership according to polling figures released today.

Across both Leave and Remain supporters, there is widespread support for the UK staying in the Single Market, pollsters say.

But there is a yawning divide between the two groups over immigration, with the Brexiteers – perhaps unsurprisingly – dramatically more supportive of limiting EU immigration.

In a telephone survey of more than 1,000 Britons, research company NatCen found 90 per cent of Leave voters and 94 per cent of Remainers backed Single Market membership.

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But while 85 per cent of Brexit backers were in favour of limiting EU immigration, the same was true of just over half of pro-Europeans.

Voters were asked to rate their support for issues divided between so-called "Hard Brexit" and "Soft Brexit" outcomes, with Single Market membership expressed as a continuation of existing free trade with Europe.

Since the UK voted to leave the EU this summer, European politicians have stressed the UK can not expect to secure Single Market membership without also agreeing to freedom of movement for European nationals.

However, the British public remains sharply divided on the matter.

Fifty-one per cent of those surveyed by NatCen rejected the idea that the UK should allow freedom of movement in exchange for free trade, but 49 per cent supported the notion.

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John Curtice, senior research fellow at NatCen, said: “The kind of deal that is most likely to prove electorally popular is one that maintains free trade but permits at least some limits on EU migration.

“That, of course, is the deal that many in the EU insist will not be possible. In those circumstances, the UK government will be faced with a tough choice."

But given that most Leave voters – and, indeed, a majority of Conservative voters – prioritise limits on immigration over keeping free trade, perhaps we should not be surprised if that would be the choice that, if necessary, it will be inclined to make.

The survey also found that two thirds of all voters, including 57 per cent of Leave voters also said that EU banks should be allowed to do business in return for UK banks being able to do the same.

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