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A majority of Britons support rejoining the European Union’s single market, even though it would mean restoring the free movement of workers from member countries, according to a poll published on Wednesday.
Limiting immigration was a major reason why Britons voted to leave the European Union in 2016, according to a YouGov poll of 2,138 people.
Polls in recent months have shown that a majority of people now think Brexit is a mistake, and Wednesday’s survey comes less than a week after figures showed annual net migration to the UK hit a record high last year – over twice as many as registered in the year before the 2016 Brexit vote.
David Cameron, who called the Brexit referendum, became Sunak’s foreign secretary
The YouGov poll showed that 57% of Britons would now support their country joining the single market, even if it meant resuming the free movement of people – a policy which saw millions of families and workers settle in Britain during its membership of the country. Every fifth of the respondents is against it.
Support for joining the single market, which also guarantees the free movement of goods and services, follows a divide in political sympathies.
Of those polled who voted to leave the EU and who would support the opposition Labor Party if the election were held tomorrow, 53% support membership of the single market and 31% are against. For those who voted for Brexit and intend to vote for the ruling Conservatives, only 29% would support a return to the single market and 54% opposed.
Opposition Labour, which is on track to win the next election according to opinion polls, has promised to improve the country’s trade relationship with the bloc, but leader Keir Starmer has said he does not want a return to the single market.
Overall, the survey shows that 72% of Britons want the country to have closer ties with the European Union, including a majority of those who voted to remain or leave.