The future of the left since 1884

Beyond Brexit

New Fabian Society/FEPS research suggests the public is ready to back a close relationship with the EU after Brexit.



The public reject a distant relationship with Europe, new Fabian Society/FEPS research published today finds. As the Brexit negotiations reach a crunch point, just 4 per cent of adults in Great Britain say they want a ‘distant and cold’ relationship with the EU after Britain leaves the union, which is the inevitable consequence of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Detailed YouGov polling for Beyond Brexit reveals that:

  • People don’t want a distant relationship with the EU: just 4 per cent of adults want a ‘distant and cold’ relationship with the EU after Brexit, the inevitable consequence of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. 87 per cent of people support either a ‘practical and neutral’ or a ‘close and warm’ future relationship.
  • People aren’t convinced that Brexit will bring more benefits in the long term: The Fabian-FEPS research tested whether people expect the benefits of Brexit to be greater in 2044 compared to 2024. Two different groups were asked about the impact of Brexit after either 5 years or 25 years. The results to the two questions were almost identical, indicating that public opinion does not support politicians who suggest short-term pain will lead to long-term gain.
  • ‘Leave’ arguments remain potent: the public’s top priorities as the UK leaves the EU are ‘Leave’ issues – immigration and control of laws – and most people believe Brexit will deliver positive impacts in these areas (eg 59 per cent of people believe Brexit will have a positive impact on control of laws by 2044).
  • But re-joining the EU is a possibility: More people want to keep open the option of one day re-joining the EU than want never to consider the idea (45 per cent to 41 per cent). And although 52 per cent of adults say they don’t feel European, 61 per cent say that Britain has a lot in common with its European neighbours.

Beyond Brexit also includes a warning from Labour’s Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer that key aspects of Britain’s future after Brexit are being ignored as Westminster fixates on the nuance of the negotiations.

The report examines Britain’s future after the negotiations are over. In the chapters from the politicians:

  • Keir Starmer, shadow Brexit secretary argues that a strong Brexit deal must come alongside a compelling vision for the future and a radical social and economic programme
  • Nia Griffith, shadow Defence secretary says that after Brexit Britain must step-up and use its influence and capabilities on the world stage
  • Wes Streeting sets out how Labour can bring the country back together around a politics that is patriotic, democratic and open to the world
  • Rachel Reeves says the Brexit vote represented a popular rejection of our current economic model, and argues that the left must construct a new political economy which focuses on people’s everyday lives
  • Lisa Nandy argues that the left should reject the view that immigration and strong communities are at odds.

You can read the report here.

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