Brexit: Voters rate negotiations a low government priority

Renegotiating Britain's relationship with the EU is a low priority for the government, according to voters. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Renegotiating Britain's relationship with the EU is a low priority for the government, according to voters. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Voters regard renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the European Union as a low priority for Government, according to a new poll.

Despite preparations for Brexit increasingly dominating the political agenda ahead of the two-year withdrawal negotiations under Article 50 of the EU treaties, the issue was ranked tenth out of 10 policy areas in terms of importance, well behind healthcare, economic growth and social care for the elderly.

The public was split over hopes for the Brexit negotiations, with 31 per cent saying it was important to restrict migration from other EU countries and 30 per cent to reduce the role of the European courts in Britain’s judicial process, against 29 per cent who said the priority should be maintaining access to the single market.

Some 47 per cent said they expected Brexit to have had a positive impact on the UK in five years’ time, compared to 32 per cent who expect its impact to be negative.

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Luke Taylor, head of social and political attitudes at Kantar Public UK, said, “The public are polarised on what the Brexit negotiations should focus on.

“A similar proportion of respondents rank migration and keeping access to the single market as the main priorities, and yet the two demands are seemingly at odds with one another.

“Moreover, our latest data shows that it is issues closer to home, like healthcare and social care, that voters want the Government to focus on the most.

“This latest survey from Kantar Public therefore highlights just how difficult it is for the Government to manage and meet public expectations at this time.”

The survey also suggested that people are increasingly certain Brexit will happen, with 66 per cent saying they were “confident” the Government will follow through on last June’s referendum vote - up from 49 per cent in November.

• Kantar Public questioned 1,207 adults between 9 and 13 February.