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TUC calls for reflection before Article 50 triggered, as poll reveals voters want a cross-party team to negotiate Brexit

date: Tuesday 12 July 2016
embargo: 00.01hrs Wednesday 13 July 2016

Two-thirds (66%) of voters want a cross-party team of politicians, employers and trade unions to negotiate Brexit, according to new polling published by the TUC today (Wednesday).

The poll – of 2,716 adults – found that both Remain (69%) and Leave (65%) overwhelmingly believe that politicians (from across the House), business people and unions should all play a key role in talks. 

Only one in ten (10%) voters favour the government acting unilaterally.

However, the majority (52%) of respondents think Nigel Farage should have no role in Brexit negotiations, with fewer than one in three (32%) supporting his attendance.

Other key findings from the poll include: 

• Brexit was a verdict on elites as much as the EU. More than two-thirds of Leave voters (71%) said politicians, business leaders and other members of the ‘establishment’ had “let most ordinary people down”.  Among Remain voters this number drops to 54%.
• Although immigration was important, the vote was not all about immigration. A quarter of Leave voters (28%) did not regard immigration as one of their three most important reasons for voting to leave. Overall, just 43% of voters said immigration was one of the most important considerations in deciding their vote.
• Concern about immigration has fallen since 2013. The proportion of people who think “it is essential for the immigration system to reduce the number of migrants coming to Britain” is down from 73% to 62%.
• The EU referendum campaign increased support for free movement. In March, voters were against free movement by a margin of 8 points; in June they were in favour by 8 points.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“These findings show that people chose how to vote at the referendum for a range of reasons. It was not a straightforward call for immediate exit from the EU without a plan.

“That’s why I am today calling for reflection before Article 50 is triggered. The British people are clear. Leaving the EU must be done carefully, and with the involvement of people from across British society – unions and businesses as well as politicians from all parties.

“We need a proper plan for life outside the EU. If we rush, lasting damage will be done to our economy and to the livelihoods of working people.

“Our poll shows that many voters feel let down by political elites and want more control over their lives – be it more security at work, better jobs in their area or fairer pay. The new Prime Minister must listen, and make sure that Brexit negotiations deliver the best deal possible for working people.”

Earlier findings from the poll (published by the TUC at the end of June) revealed that nearly three-fifths (58%) of voters would oppose an immediate “Brexit cuts budget”, with opposition highest amongst Leave supporters (65%). Just one in six voters (17%) would support plans for a cuts budget following the UK’s decision to exit from the European Union.

The vast majority of Remain and Leave voters also back post-Brexit policies of safeguarding vital rights like maternity leave (73% of Remain and 69% of Leave voters) and maintaining protection against discrimination at work (80% of Remain voters and 77% of Leave voters).

Similarly to other recent polling, the TUC’s poll found that the public overwhelmingly backs the right of current EU migrants to stay in the UK.

Nearly two-thirds of voters (64%) think EU nationals currently living and working in the UK should be guaranteed the right to remain.

NOTES TO EDITORS:
- TUC poll analysing the EU referendum vote: GQRR conducted an online poll of 2,716 respondents in Great Britain. The survey was in the field from 24 to 27 June. The data was weighted to be nationally representative across age, gender, region, ethnicity and social grade. Data for the poll findings used in this release can be found in this document: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/TUC-EU-Referendum-Poll-Data-…
- The TUC has published a post-Brexit action plan. The full TUC report ‘Working people must not pay the price for the vote to leave the EU: an action plan to protect the economy, jobs and workers’ rights’ can be found at: www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/WorkingPeopleMustNotPaythePrice.pdf
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews

Contacts:
Media enquiries:
Alex Rossiter  T: 020 7467 1285  M: 07887 572130  E: arossiter@tuc.org.uk
Tim Nichols  T: 020 7467 1388  M: 07808 761844  E: tnichols@tuc.org.uk
Michael Pidgeon  T: 020 7467 1372  M: 07717 531150  E: mpidgeon@tuc.org.uk
Elly Gibson (Mon to Thurs)  T: 020 7467 1337  M: 07900 910624  E: egibson@tuc.org.uk