About a fifth want no implementation or transition period at all. They want to be out of the EU’s embraces as fully and as soon as possible.
A further sixth are willing to wait for a year. This is the view taken by some in the Cabinet who backed Leave during the EU referendum. Liam Fox originally spoke of months rather than years.
Roughly a quarter, the biggest proportion backing any single option, would put up with such a term lasting two years.
Between a sixth support the view pushed by Philip Hammond during the summer: that it should last no longer than three years, this concluding before the planned date of the next election.
Add all those up, and one finds that almost three in four party member respondents to our survey want any transition or implementation period to be over by then – if one includes that 20 per cent or so who don’t want one anyway. Ten per cent would be happy to have no time limit at all. Most of them will have voted Remain during the referendum, and many presumably want Britain to remain Single Market and Customs Union members.
Theresa May must surely get a line agreed by the time of Party Conference. The holding position set out over the summer by Hammond and Fox is the implementation or transition period will be “time limited”. There will be speculation about Cabinet differences until there is a common position. At any rate, Party members’ consensus is unambiguous. The Prime Minister will want to bear their views in mind.
We had roughly 1300 response to the survey which was mailed to our panel of Party members – much the same as last month, and a very healthy return.