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  • Voters reject EU payments during Brexit transition

    New Portland/YouGov polling on public attitudes towards a Brexit “transition” or “implementation” period has been published. It provides new insight into the constraints public opinion is placing on the Government, as it seeks to negotiate the UK’s exit from the EU.

    Half of voters want the UK to stop paying money to the EU the moment we leave, new polling reveals. Continuing to pay into EU funds during a transition period “would not be acceptable” to 48% of voters. Only 31% think such payments would be “acceptable”.

    Conducted by YouGov, the polling shows:

    • The public is open to a transition period in principle. 37% of voters support the idea of a transition period after the end of Brexit negotiations in 2019, with 22% in opposition. 40% did not know or expressed no preference.
    • Most of those expressing a view believe a transition period should last no longer than two years. 50% said a transition period should last no longer than two years beyond the end of negotiations in 2019, including 32% who said it should last no more than one year. Just 20% opted for longer than two years with 30% not offering a view. With Article 50 negotiations set to conclude in 2019, this suggests the public want to see the Brexit process complete by 2021.
    • Leave voters believe a transition period should be short. 55% of Leave voters say a transition period should last no more than one year and a further 19% say it should last no more than two years. Only 8% of Leave voters say a transition period should last longer than two years with 19% not offering a view.

    In addition, likely features of any transition period face considerable opposition:

    • By 48% to 31%, voters say it would be unacceptable to contribute to the EU budget during a transition period;
    • By 47% to 32%, voters say it would be unacceptable to remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice;
    • By 43% to 36%, voters say it would be unacceptable to maintain free movement of people;
    • By 42% to 33%, voters say it would be unacceptable to remain in the customs union and be unable to strike new trade deals.

    At the same time, 58% say maintaining barrier-free access to the single market would be acceptable during a transition period, with only 17% saying this would be unacceptable.

    This new research is launched alongside “Destination Brexit”, a Portland publication featuring contributions from heavyweights including former Justice Secretary Michael Gove and former Foreign Minister of Poland Radek Sikorski, which explores how the UK can secure a good Brexit deal.

    YouGov’s polling tables are available here.

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