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Oxford University Study: Leave and Remain Voters United, Back ‘Hard’ Brexit

A survey of more than 20,000 people by the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford has revealed that a majority of Britons — including many Remain voters — now want to see a so-called ‘Hard Brexit’.

Seen ahead of its official publication by BuzzFeed — an outlet generally unsympathetic to Brexit — the study’s results are said to “imply relatively low levels of support for the policies that would amount to a ‘soft’ Brexit – Single Market membership, ongoing EU payments, Free Movement, and the [Court of Justice of the European Union continuing to have jurisdiction in Britain]”.

BuzzFeed reports 67 per cent of survey respondents said they would prefer “No Deal” to Soft Brexit, whilst 68 per cent would opt for Hard over Soft Brexit.

Professor Sara Hobolt of the LSE, one of the study’s co-authors, said that — contrary to various mainstream media reports suggesting Leave voters have experienced ‘Bregret’ since the referendum — neither Leave nor Remain voters showed much sign of having second thoughts about their decision.

More interestingly, however, Remain voters appeared far from united in supporting a ‘Soft Brexit’.

“Our results imply that Leavers are united in strongly favouring a Hard Brexit because they are generally more likely to oppose any deal that involves continued Freedom of Movement of People, jurisdiction of the ECJ, and a very large ‘divorce settlement’,” she said.

“In contrast, Remainers are more divided, with the majority favouring a Soft Brexit but others favouring aspects of a Hard Brexit. Overall, this means that there is on aggregate higher levels of support for outcomes that resemble the Hard Brexit position put forward by the Government.”

The research also revealed that, unlike the so-called ‘Remain Resistance’ in the media and political classes, most Remain voters recognise that the Government would not be respecting the referendum result if they signed a deal which kept Britain in the Single Market and retained the unlimited and effectively unvetted Free Movement migration regime which comes with it — even if they might personally favour such an outcome.

“Remain voters are willing to acknowledge that there are key negotiation outcomes – e.g. limits to Freedom of Movement – that they may not like, but that these outcomes still respect the referendum vote and are therefore legitimate,” said Professor Hobolt.

“In other words, Remain voters concede that the features that lead them to prefer a particular negotiation outcome do not, in fact, respect the referendum.”

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