Poll shows Britons favour EU migration

Almost two-thirds of Britons believe the nation will need more skills from the European Union in the wake of the Covid-29 pandemic, according to a survey published on Thursday.

EU passport on Union Jack flag
The survey, conducted by Survation for eu+me - a new, Scottish-based, pro-EU campaign group - found that 63% of respondents now supported more people from the continent coming to live and work in the UK, despite the fact freedom of movement is due to end on December 31.

Scotland and the UK weigh in on EU migration

Conducted in two parts - one across Scotland and one across the rest of the UK - the poll also found that 68% of UK respondents and 71% of Scots said the pandemic had made them more sympathetic to EU nationals already in the country.The eu+me campaign has been formed by Stephen Gethins, the former Scottish Nationalist MP for NE Fife. Its director is the SNP’s one-time head of communications, Fergus Mutch, although the group denies it is aligned to any political party."These figures sink the claims made by the UK government that people want to see an end to free movement," said Mr Mutch."The coronavirus pandemic has changed so much about how people see our place in the world, and our relationship with our closest neighbours."The UK's economy has taken a hammering in the past few months. If we want to give ourselves the best chance of rebuilding society in the wake of the pandemic then welcoming people with the right skills from the EU to live and work here is absolutely critical."EU citizens are our friends, our family and our colleagues. They hold together our NHS and care sector, they are integral to the success of key industries, they exchange knowledge, ideas and drive progress in our universities and we depend on them heavily in the agriculture and hospitality sectors."

What were the specific results of the UK/EU migration survey?

More than 2,000 people were questioned for the survey: 1,127 in Scotland and 1,022 across the rest of the UK.The Scottish sample found that, excluding 'don't knows', 62% favoured rejoining the EU while 38% would opt to stay out. These percentages almost exactly reflect the pro-remain vote in Scotland of the 2016 EU referendum.Mr Mutch added, “There’s a very real risk that in just over five months time we crash out of the transition period with no deal and irreparably damage the relationships that have maintained peace and prosperity across Europe for over 60 years.“Never has an energetic campaign been more badly needed to protect our status and to help shape our future as Europeans.“The coming months could not be more crucial to secure the rights we’ve enjoyed for most of our lifetimes to live, work, travel, study and thrive as part of Europe.“Despite the turbulence of the past four years, governments have failed to settle the question of Brexit UK-wide through leadership and sensible compromise. High-risk brinkmanship remains the negotiating approach. It’s a strategy doomed to fail.“People view Europe as key to our shared prosperity, and the devastating impact of a global pandemic has reinforced the fact that our recovery depends on cooperation.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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