Data from the focus group surveys of Lord Ashcroft Polls have a primary purpose of providing background support to guide policy development in the Conservative Party. In addition, The New Blueprint: The Conservative Agenda in Post-Brexit Britain also provides an interesting insight into what “Brexit Means Brexit” actually means – at least in the minds of the representative groups surveyed.
In answering four questions, both supporters of remaining in the EU and those preferring to leave are in remarkable harmony.
Brexit through this data means regaining Government control of who can live and work in the UK, as well as retaining monies otherwise devoted to the EU budget – two of the central themes of the Leave campaign. Full access to the EU single market is largely considered to be a positive post-Brexit outcome. A large majority from all quarters consider that foreign nationals from other EU countries who are currently living and working in UK should be allowed to stay.
The strength of this latter reconciliation of what Brexit means with the right for existing EU nationals to remain in the UK is perhaps a most surprising finding. This is in close agreement with an earlier opinion poll for the British Future think tank. As reported in The Guardian, this survey found more than 80 per cent of people in the UK, including 77 per cent of Leave voters, believed EU migrants already living in Britain should be allowed to remain after Brexit.
This data infers that a large majority of the UK population seems not to be unduly affected by current levels of EU migration, but rather their concerns arise at the thought of what the future might hold. This is an important distinction for those managing the Brexit negotiations to recognise.