Monday 13 June 2016 12:04 am

EU referendum: British voters want a Norway-style arrangement if the UK votes for Brexit, poll reveals

British voters want a "Norway-style" arrangement if the United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union, according to a new poll.

A poll by free market think tank the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) has found that a deal resembling the relationship Norway has with the 28-member bloc would be supported to retain access to the single market.

Norway has access to the single market, but must accept the rules that govern it, as well as the free movement of people.

The survey, carried out by YouGov, shoed 54 per cent of Britons would support the UK striking such a deal for five to 10 years following Brexit, while 25 per cent said they would oppose it.

Read more: Free market think tank says Britain should follow the Norway model after it votes for Brexit

Executive director of the ASI Sam Bowman said the deal would keep the UK in the EEA, thereby taking "the risk out of leaving the EU, providing the time it would take to come up with a unique British solution".

Bowman added: "Voters recognise that the EEA option is coherent with leaving the EU, with large numbers of Leave supporters saying that they would support this arrangement." 

The poll also found that Britons were evenly split on whether protecting free trade with the EU (41 per cent) or reducing immigration (41 per cent) should be the government’s first priority following a vote to Leave, with 18 per cent unsure, showing that there is no clear mandate to reduce immigration at the cost of securing economic stability even in the event of Brexit.

"People's reasons for leaving the EU are varied and this polling rejects attempts by some commentators to frame the referendum as being about immigration alone. Many Leave voters care about sovereignty and ending Britain's membership of the EU’s common policies far more than they do about immigration," Bowman continued.

The ASI said last month that the UK would have to join the EEA following a Brexit vote, as it would be "impossible" for any other type of individual arrangement to be negotiated between the UK and the EU within the two year time frame allowed under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Read more: BT to write joint memo with unions to warn of Brexit risks

Previous analysis from the Treasury, the London School of Economics and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research have all said a Norway-style model would minimise the economic impact of Brexit.

However, Leave campaigners have consistently stated that the UK could strike a unique deal based on free trade, while not signing up to the free movement of people.

And in other developments, Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble issued a warning to the UK last week, indicating the UK will not have access to the single market if it votes for Brexit on June 23

He added that a relationship such as those with Switzerland and Norway "won't work" for Britain.

"It would require the country to abide by the rules of a club from which it currently wants to withdraw. If the majority in Britain opts for Brexit, that would be a decision against the single market. In is in. Out is out. One has to respect the sovereignty of the British people," he told Der Spiegel.