What sort of Brexit?

I’ll be taking a break from the blog over the next week while I have a summer rest (I may pop in if something interesting happens, but I’m going to try not to), but before I go a quick pointer to something I wrote over on the YouGov website on what the public think about Brexit.

The type of Brexit the public want is a tricky subject to poll. It will obviously be one of the dominant issues in British politics over the next few years, yet we also know so little of it. We don’t yet know with any confidence what the government’s aims or negotiating position will be, nor what other European countries will be willing to offer (or what they will want in return). Public opinion will be one of the limitations upon the government’s negotiations so it’s certainly important, but it’s hard to measure it at this stage when people have so little information about what’s on offer.

We tried to explore the issue in two ways. The first was to ask whether people thought various things would be acceptable trade-offs in exchange for continued British free trade with the EU. That suggests that the public would accept having to follow some EU trade rules, could be persuaded on immigration (33% think freedom of movement is desirable anyway, 19% a price worth paying, 33% a deal-breaker), but would object to Britain making a financial contribution to the EU (41% think it would be fine or a price worth paying, 44% think it would be a deal-breaker).

However, taking things individually risks being a little misleading. When it comes to it a deal will be a package of measures and will be judged as a whole. On that basis, I think the questions that present people with various scenarios and ask them to judge them as a whole are more enlightening.

By 44% to 32% people thought it would be bad for Britain if we simply left and had no trade deal with the remainder of the EU. A Norway-type deal, with Britain joining EFTA and maintaining free trade with EU in exchange for free-movement, a financial contribution and following trade rules is seen a little less negatively (35% good, 38% bad)… but perhaps more importantly, by 42% to 32% people would see it as not seen as honouring the result of the referendum. Finally, we asked about a Canada-type deal, where there is no freedom of movement or financial contribution, but only a limited free trade deal that excludes services. That was seen as both honouring the result of the referendum, and as positive for Britain.

Of course negotiations haven’t yet started and the actual deals that end upon on the table may very well differ from these examples. I suspect views are not very deeply held yet, and people may very well change their minds when deals start to take shape and politicians and the media start to debate them. The public’s starting point, however, seems to be that a limited trade deal is both the best solution and a solution that respects the referendum result. We shall see how that changes once the negotiations actually begin.

The full tabs are on the website here.

920 Responses to “What sort of Brexit?”

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  1. Very interesting.

    If I read the tables well, nothing much changed since the referendum really with two exceptions

    One is the importance of free trade (with the EU) – it can be part of a narrative, but it is very strong.

    The other (not important) – some really confused answers. It can be just a noise, but they are not filtered out.

  2. Not surprised the Canada type deal is popular. People simply want an end to free movement and to our contribution, but are happy to go on trading.

  3. FPT

    CR – “Yesterday the cooperative party had 9000 thousand members, thanks to that article they probably have 100,000+ members today. If the Labour MPs want to get away from us they will have to join the tories”.

    I thought you loathed the Labour moderates? Why would you chase them from party to party, to hang onto their shirt-tails, if that is the case?

    It seems a reasonable compromise that the Corbynites continue under the Labour brand, and the moderates stand under the Co-Op or a brand new party brand. And then the voters (remember them?) choose which they prefer.

    It sounds like you don’t like the Lab moderates but are desperate to use them as a shield in order to trick the voters into voting for something radical. In other words, deep in your heart you know voters won’t touch the Corbynistas standing on their own with a bargepole.

  4. AW – have a good holiday and thanks for your great efforts running the site.

    On the poll, I answered this one myself. I took the question about “Allowing EU citizens the right to live and work in Britain” to mean allow SOME EU citizens the right (i.e. They wouldn’t all be barred e.g. if they had skills that were in demand), rather than ALL, and so said it was ok. I didn’t take it to be the same as free movement of people, or I would have answered differently. If I took it that way, I’m sure others may have done too. I think it shows that with all the vagueness about what might be available, that polling questions need to be very carefully worded.

  5. What an exciting time for us British!!
    A time of great opportunity and one I feel sure we will grasp and start a great new chapter in our island story.
    From the four corners of the Kingdom, Britons will forge ahead, freed from the European yoke.
    Rule Britannia!!

  6. Candy

    Well you can read it that way. Of course you could argue like Peter Hitchen that now that the blairite hijacking of the labour party has been thwarted the remaining blairites should join their natural home which according to Peter Hitchen is the Tory party. Peter doesn’t say so but i suspect he thinks of the blairites as being old tories rather than New Labour, indeed they would have fitted in very well in a Macmillan or heath conservative party. But if that story is to be believed (which i think it shouldn’t) they have instead opted to hijack another party within the Labour movement.

  7. @CR

    Who made Peter Hitchin the arbiter of who should belong to a party?

    Just be grateful you have got what you wanted – a Labour party purged of all the hated Blairites and other hated moderates. Now you can be pure.

    But instead of being glad, you want to follow them into their new party to continue to harass them? It makes no sense unless you want to use them as shields to trick the electorate.

  8. Jasper22

    An interesting post – especially the final imperative statement.

    If you had included a comma after “Rule”, then you might have meant that Brittania should “rule” some unspecified place or people.

    Since you didn’t, it can only be assumed that you were ordering some external people or force, to rule Brittania but you don’t say who!

    Of course, you may have been instructing some unknown body to draw lines across Brittania. That would, of course, be unnecessary. The Ordnance Survey has already done that very effectively. Just look at any decent map.

    As a political programme, your suggestion does rather lack specificity.

  9. There is a lot of irony in the favoured choice – free trade in manufactured goods being exactly the worst possible choice for an economy that is essentially reliant upon selling services – both financial and legal as well as educational – it would open our borders to EU goods tariff free whilst preventing the EU from buying UK services tariff free – only those in favour of Brexit could have produced this Mad Hatter’s Tea Party..where decisions no longer even rest upon even a notional sense of economic self-interest…just as losing EU Trademark, Design and Patent will completely and cumulatively disadvantage our R&D in all sectors over time….but the lunatics now run the asylum…

  10. @jasper 22

    Your spoof posts are very amusing.

  11. Interesting developments in Scotland:


    The SNP changed the rules in 2007 to let MSPs who were parliamentary aides to ministers to serve on the committees scrutinizing legislation at the same time.

    Further SNP party rules say no elected member can criticize any other elected SNP member and the penalty is expulsion if they do so.

    So the SNP MSPs on the committees not only have a conflict of interest (scrutinizing stuff their bosses are doing), but will get expelled if they actually dare do it.

    They get closer to North Korea by the day…

  12. Good evening all from a damp Stevenage or to be exact a damp Benington Good time to pop over to UKPR now that the Liverpool highlights are showing. )-:

    “What sort of Brexit?” I think a lot of peeps voted for a Brexit where they have the power to boot out people who make decisions for us and can hold them to account. It’s not rocket science.

    “I’ll be taking a break from the blog over the next week while I have a summer rest (I may pop in if something interesting happens, but I’m going to try not to)”

    Bring us back a stick of rock. ;-)

  13. Religion seems to have raised its head as an issue in UKIP’s increasingly power struggle in Wales.


    Neil Hamilton does seem to have brought interesting politics to Wales. :-)

  14. Another Coop Party rule that renders the entire idea nonsense:

    “Official Co-operative Party Members of Parliament, the European Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or local authority must join the official Labour Group.”

    So de facto it is not possible to become an official Coop MP without also remaining a Labour MP. In which case Labour remains the largest opposition parliamentary grouping.

  15. Per capita Olympic medals in Rio, top ten and selected others

    Rank/country/medals/pop/ per medal

    1 Grenada 1 106,825 106,825
    2 Bahamas 2 388,019 194,009
    3 Jamaica 11 2,725,941 247,812
    4 New Zealand 18 4,595,700 255,316
    5 Denmark 14 5,676,002 405,428
    6 Croatia 10 4,224,404 422,440
    7 Slovenia 4 2,063,768 515,942
    8 Georgia. 7 3,679,000 525,571
    9 Azerbaijan 15 9,651,349 643,423
    10 Hungary 15 9,844,686 656,312

    14 Australia 29 23,781,169 820,040

    18 Great Britain 66 65,138,232 986,942

    30 France 40 66,808,385 1,670,209

    34 Germany 41 81,413,145 1,985,686

    39 Russian Federation 53 144,096,812 2,718,807

    40 United States 116 321,418,820 2,770,851

    41 Japan 41 126,958,472 3,096,548

    75 China 70 1,371,220,000 19,588,857

    85 India 2 1,311,050,527 655,525,263

  16. Didn’t come out as neat as i would have liked

  17. CR

    It would be interesting if someone worked out the public purse cost per medal for each Olympic franchise.

    That would allow us to judge whether our government(s) were spending elite sports funding more or less efficiently than elsewhere.

  18. Oldnat

    I don’t think anyone’s doing that but there is GDP medal ratios.

  19. CR


    £5m+ per medal might be good or bad value for money, but without comparisons we can’t know.

  20. @OLDNAT if it helps to keep the Union together it will be well worth it ;)

  21. Jasper 22
    Britannia waives the rules?

  22. @Maxim Except that isn’t likely to wash either. Basically we’d have to pay a yearly levy to the EU and our immigration policy would, in effect, still be at the behest of Brussels. I can’t imagine May would even try to sell that to the public, it would be seen as a betrayal of the Referendum.

  23. Doomed ! -we’re all Doomed.

    How will we know what to do without Mr. Juncker to tell us ?

  24. Good morning all from a slightly misty Stevenage.

    @OLDNAT if it helps to keep the Union together it will be well worth it”

    Actually I think the opposite. I was speaking to my wee sister on the phone yesterday and one of her Uni pals who was in the GB Olympic team (the bint never won anything) said Scotland won 13 medals.

    So that would suggest the Scots who make up 8.8% of the UK population won 20% of all team GB medals which I think would put them into 16th spot overall in the final medal count.

    I’m thinking the Scots might had been better off competing as an independent nation. ;-) Disclaimer time…This post is in no way a prerequisite to discussing the price of Scottish oil or olives.

  25. Just on team GB’s performance. No one can take away the fact that we did very well and even bettered the London medal count and even taking into account the Russian’s had half their team booted out of the competition, I still don’t think this had any real impact on our final medal tally had the Russians been at full strength.

    However….it was interesting that the BBC reporter last night when discussing team GB’s medal success went along the lines I was on about a few days ago by asking do we measure our success by medals or on the participation on the take up of sports overall as a nation and money being spent on local sporting facilities.

    He said participation in sports hasn’t increased in the UK since London 2012 so although taking nothing away from our athletes success at the Rio games I’m just wondering if £5 million per medal was money well spent or would it had been better spent on good causes like better sporting facilities across the UK for everyone to enjoy?

  26. CANDY
    “Not surprised the Canada type deal is popular. People simply want an end to free movement and to our contribution, but are happy to go on trading.”

    I agree it seems that those polled have identified the most likely type of deal. There was an interesting piece in the MoS yesterday suggesting a “hard Brexit with banks and other financial institutions using “equivalence rules” which could be beefed up as part of Brexit negotiations. The “equivalence rules” allow banks around the World to offer services to EU clients if they can show that their regulations are as strong as those within the EU. This would avoid passporting and free movement.

  27. Colin

    “Doomed ! -we’re all Doomed.
    How will we know what to do without Mr. Juncker to tell us ?”

    Well there are one or two who post on here I could suggest you follow!


  28. Allan Christie

    How many GB golds were won by Scots out of the 27?


    Agreed on the Canada type deal. I don’t see why the free movement of people into the UK should be a condition of our continuing trade with the EU.

    And as for Mr. Juncker…. well pardon the French but he’s just an trou du cul.

  30. Colin: “How will we know what to do without Mr. Juncker to tell us ?”

    Can you provide any examples of UK government executive decisions that have been determined by Juncker dictats?

  31. BT SAYS…
    Allan Christie
    “How many GB golds were won by Scots out of the 27?”

    4 golds which = to 15% of the UK total so again the Scots are punching way above the 8.8% of the population figure.

  32. Alan – Scotland won 16 medals out of 129 won by GB (i.e more than 1 medal for team sports) – which is about 12%, still punching slightly above their weight but not far off what would be expected.

  33. ED G

    Where are you getting your medal count from?

  34. TOH


    Today’s Times reports that Arnaud Montebourg , who resigned as economy minister in 2014, will run for French President on an anti-Brussels , Left Wing Eurosceptic ticket.

    Hugely critical of Hollande & describing France as a country “no longer knowing where it is going”, he plans to award 80% of government contracts to French businesses & ignore EU rules restricting Budget Deficits to 3%.

    You have to admire the French Left-no fannying about with Referendums-just ignore the EU rules you don’t like.

  35. “Scottish Labour leader backs Owen Smith against Jeremy Corbyn”


    Popular chap, our Jeremy :-)

  36. @Colin
    Just watch – the fan club will be on saying it’s a diabolical liberty by the red tories.
    My latest phone polling:
    5 Corbyn
    4 Smith (of which 2 were Corbyn last time)
    4 DK (of which 2 were Corbyn last time)
    It’s not done and dusted.

  37. ED G

    I’m confused because all the sporting websites have the GB total at 67 but I’m no expert on how the medals are actually counted ie as individuals or as individual sports which would of course see a winning rowing team win 1 gold but as individuals win 5 medals which is unfair because take Andy Murray, he competed as an individual so i’m thinking the 129 medals and the Scots winning 16 is unfair due to the amount of medals a rowing team can win as to individual athletes such as Andy Murray.
    ” Scotland won 16 medals out of 129 won by GB (i.e more than 1 medal for team sports) – which is about 12%, still punching slightly above their weight but not far off what would be expected”

    Even taking the 129, 12% is still above 8.8%.

  38. Allan,
    While it is not clear that Russia would have taken any golds off GB it seems likely they would have pushed a few bronze medals into 4th thus meaning we would not have surpassed London.
    Quite likely they would have taken a gold or two off China (for example in weightlifting) and we would still have been firmly second.

    In the context of gold medals, this is quite interesting:

  39. Allan – the number of medals won in official terms is the 67 which is quoted on most website. However the number of 16 medals for Scotland is to say that 16 Scottish athletes have won medals (including 4 Scottish members of the men’s 4x 200m swimming team – which only counts as 1 of the 67).

  40. re the YouGov poll,

    To be honest those figures give comfort to virtually all positions except hard Brexit, which clearly does not seem very popular.

    The Canada style deal is seen as popular but the YouGov question did not make it clear that losing free trade in Services would be a big blow to the economy. I would be very sure that Theresa May is listening carefully to the big Tory Party donors from the City who will be saying “keep the financial passport at all costs”.. And then she will look at these YouGov figures and see the score draw in acceptability for the Norway style deal (even though freedom of movement AND a contribution were mentioned in the question)… If you add a freeze on migration for some years as has been mooted the acceptability would almost certainly move into positive territory.

    Then you have to factor in that the EEA deal is pretty much available “off the shelf” and will involve relatively little negotiation, and the smallest possible changes in our laws relative to the EU.

    I was interested that the argument has also clearly been won over taking our time over Brexit, with the debate being whether to take 2 years or longer. Clearly most people are happy enough to keep freedom of movement for several more years.

  41. ANDREW

    That is very interesting. UK athletes get nothing for winning a gold medal where Russian athletes get a healthy packet .

    ED G

    That’s what I thought or that’s what I was trying to say in my last post. It’s still not fair way to gauge the home nations against each other because of the type of sports (team v individuals) so I’m sticking with the official team GB website of 67.

  42. Allan,

    Yes, and French and US athletes get quite a bit too!

    Obviously we Brits are still not as obsessed with money as the rest! The old “Chariots of Fire” spirit lives on!

  43. There is no “Olympic Grand Challenge Cup” for the nation with the largest number of individual and team gold medals.
    You should moderate your table to take account of the fact that every nation is limited to three athletes per event. That means that from populous nations some athletes etc are excluded who while not likely to wing gold medals, are quite likely to be good enough to push others out of bronze or even silver.
    Perhaps you should also weight the population figures by the proportion actually of reasonable age for competing (even though one British medal was won by a 58 year old.)
    I guess it costs more in cash to gain gold medals in say cycling or an equestrian event, than in running, and obviously genuine team events like rowing, hockey or football need several competitors each to spend the time and effort and use resources to reach the required standard.
    For me the most telling and revealing image was Usain Bolt’s face at the end of the 200m. A truly great athlete, but far from satisfied that his last 200m was his best.
    The Olympics are about promoting individual excellence and pushing the boundaries of human achievement. If others are inspired to follow in Olympians footsteps and that raises the general standard, well and good, but that is not the prime aim.

  44. @candy

    So unlike Westminster where the Ministers and their parliamentary aides sit on Bill committees. Westminster gets more like [ insert ridiculous comparison of choice]….

  45. ANDREW111

    I believe the US medalists are required to pay tax if they win a medal as the medal is treated as a prize (which are taxable in the US) which has an inherent value as a lump of metal.

  46. Colin,

    The French, whether left or right, have ALWAYS ignored EU rules they do not like..

    Whereas the British civil service has implemented them with enthusiasm….

    And of course British politicians were most keen for expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe (and in the case of Boris Johnson, Turkey)

    Go figure!

  47. I can’t see the point of even asking this, at this stage.

    The Italian referendum is going to have such an enormous effect on Europe what ever the result is, that comment at this stage is pointless.

    By the end of the year the Eurozone might no longer exist, or the world bank might have had to intervene to prop the Italian economy up.

    The polls for the outcome are so wildly swinging from one side to another that any outcome is impossible to predict – other than that what ever that result is, it won’t be good for anyone.

    Seeing as it’s so quiet regarding polling here in the UK, it might be an interesting exercise for the site to begin following the Italian polls for a while ?

  48. Two things continue to surprise me about the polls. The first is that none as far as I am aware have done any work on what Brexit terms would be acceptable to the English and Welsh electorate. More importantly nobody has looked at the impact on the parties in the future. I have voted Tory all my life. Not being part of the EU has never been in their manifesto. I have a daughter living in the EU and I visit her twice a year. So what makes Mrs May think that she has my support or can count on my vote in future? On the contrary I will not vote or support any party that is not positively for EU membership. I will not vote for any party that says it will make up funds to parts of the country that voted for exit… thiose who vote for dinner should pay the full price. How many Remain voters heel the same? 10% of 48% could well swing an election. If 48% voted LD the Tories Labour and UKIP would be wiped out. So what polls are looking at the future when the actual terms have been negotiated?

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