Brexiteers and Remainers are agreeing on their goals for Prime Minister Theresa May's EU exit negotiations

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

Britain's Brexiteers and Remainers show widespread agreement on some of the central principles of Prime Minister Theresa May's renegotiation with the EU.

May will trigger talks next week, but new research has revealed both camps are united in wanting to see freedom of movement scrapped and European trade maintained.

A survey by the National Centre for Social Research found that majorities in both camps say EU nationals should be treated in the same way as those from outside Europe, and even greater majorities want to retain free trade with Single Market.

Eighty-two per cent of Leave voters want EU migrants to the UK to be treated in the same way as those from outside Europe, and almost 60 per cent of Remain supporters agree.

And on free trade, 88 per cent of Brexiteers and 91 per cent of Remainers support retaining tariff free commerce with Europe.

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Professor John Curtice, senior research fellow at NatCen, said: “For the most part, Remain and Leave voters are not at loggerheads on the kind of Brexit they would like to see.

“Many Remain voters would like to see an end to the less popular parts of Britain’s current membership of the EU, while many Leave voters would like to retain the seemingly more desirable parts, such as free trade, cheap mobile phone calls, and clean beaches.

“This is perhaps typical of the pick and mix attitude to the EU that has characterised much of Britain’s relationship with the institution during its 44 years of membership so far.”

Conservative voters showed more support for both an end to freedom of movement and continued free trade than their Labour-backing peers.

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Just under 95 per cent of Conservative voters support free trade with the EU, and 81 per cent back ending freedom of movement.

By contrast, the equivalent Labour figures are 84 per cent for trade and 57 per cent on axing free movement.

“The stance taken by the UK government of wanting to end freedom of movement but maintain free trade fits well with the views of most Conservative voters,” Curtice said.

“But it also means that they are also the group that are most likely to be disappointed if they were to come to the conclusion that the government has failed to achieve that objective. Theresa May could be faced with political difficulties at home if she struggles to achieve her key objectives in Brussels.”

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