Brexit: 57% of Britons support rejoining single market even with freedom of movement, YouGov poll finds
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Seven in 10 Britons support a closer relationship with the EU while 57% want the UK to rejoin the single market, a new YouGov poll has revealed.
While 54% of people think that Brexit is not done - and this is backed by a majority of Remain voters and Leave voters. The new polling shows overwhelming discontent with how the UK's exit from the EU has unfolded from people on both sides of the divide.
Three in five people think Brexit has gone badly, while only just over one in 10 think it's gone well. It also shows opinion moving towards closer ties with the EU, as businesses have been hit by red tape and holidays abroad have become more complicated.
There is now a significant majority who support re-entry to the single market, which is not rejoining the EU itself but its trading bloc. This would allow free movement of goods and also people, with only around one in five people opposed to this. Despite leaving the EU in January 2021, net migration has increased to record levels - more than triple the level it was when the UK left the bloc.
So far, Sir Keir Starmer and Labour have been very clear that they think there is "no case" for rejoining the EU. This was confirmed yesterday by a Labour spokesman, who said: "We have set out our position very clearly on that. We are not rejoining the single market or customs union, we are not returning to freedom of movement.
"We want a good working relationship with the European Union; we want to improve some of the issues there are on subjects like trade, but no, we’re not rejoining in any form." Starmer has been terrified of any future election being framed around Brexit, as the 2019 poll was when Boris Johnson won a huge majority.
However, the YouGov research found that Leave voters, who currently support Labour, still support rejoining the single market by 53% to 31%. Elections guru John Curtice has been making the point for some time, that Labour's current electoral coalition is fairly similar to that in 2019.
"Despite Sir Keir Starmer’s best endeavours, the structuring of the Labour Party vote, in particular with reference to people’s attitudes towards Brexit, is almost exactly the same now as it was four years ago," he recently told the UK in a Changing Europe Brexit conference. "It’s true, the Labour Party has, relatively speaking, gained ground on those who voted Leave in 2016.
"A chunk of those people, who voted leave in 2016, voted Conservative in 2019 and now would vote Labour, say they no longer believe in Brexit. They say they would now vote to rejoin. The Leave voters that Labour have got are not typical Leave voters."
The YouGov poll comes after EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the UK should rejoin the EU to "fix" Brexit. She told a Politico event: "I keep telling my children, you have to fix it. We goofed it up." She had been asked if Britain could ever reverse Brexit.
She added: "First of all, thank God, with the Windsor agreement, we had a new beginning for old friends. Very important ... you have to fix it [Brexit]. So I think here, too, the direction of travel, my personal opinion is clear.”
Responding to von der Leyen's comments, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "It's through our Brexit freedoms that we're considering how to further strengthen our migration system, it is through our Brexit freedoms that we're ensuring patients in the UK get access to medicine faster, there's greater animal welfare.
"We are delivering on Brexit, we have resolved the outstanding issue of the Windsor Framework, the Prime Minister delivered that. We are focused on the benefits and opportunities that Brexit can bring."
Ralph Blackburn is NationalWorld’s politics editor based in Westminster, where he gets special access to Parliament, MPs and government briefings. If you liked this article you can follow Ralph on X (Twitter) here and sign up to his free weekly newsletter Politics Uncovered, which brings you the latest analysis and gossip from Westminster every Sunday morning.