However, those who want a soft Brexit say they want a gentler break from the EU, so as to not rock the boat too much and risk the health of the economy. They say that discarding our Single Market membership, though it would mean being able to bring immigration levels down, could also deal a huge blow to the economy.
British-based companies would no longer be able to trade their goods and services freely with our European neighbours, meaning their profits would suffer. Worse, some companies could choose to move elsewhere so as to avoid such a hit, meaning British workers working in these companies would lose their jobs.
Last November, a letter signed by 90 Labour MPs was sent to the Guardian arguing that discarding our membership of Single Market would make working people poorer. It said:
“Trade barriers would make it harder for businesses to grow, reducing employment. Having little access to the European single market would leave Britain deprived of privileged access to the EU markets, hitting jobs, growth and businesses.
Whereas the UK is now an attractive destination for inward investment because we are a gateway to a market of 500 million consumers, reducing our access reduces our attractiveness for investment and therefore job creation. Combined, these factors will mean that British people will be poorer.”
Some pro-EU economists and think-tanks appear to believe exiting the Single Market might even cause a recession, as in 2008.
And whilst many pro-EU politicians admit that immigration to this country does need to be reduced in light of the referendum vote, many argue that the steep fall in immigration from the EU that hard Brexiters seem to want is also not in the long-term interests of the country.
For one, immigrants from the EU often end up working in our health and social care services and so do a vital work keeping the NHS and other crucial services running which keep us healthy and well-looked after. When EU citizens come here they also help to boost the economy through their hard work and give our government more money to spend by paying taxes.
And though some politicians probably wouldn’t admit this, immigrants from the EU often take the sorts of menial jobs which Brits won’t apply for. Therefore, even if we tightened border controls on low-skilled work, the country would still be at a loss.
There is also the desire among hard Brexiters to not have the European Court of Justice (which makes rulings on EU law, and EU law only) involved in Britain’s affairs in any direct way shape or form. If Britain stayed in the European Single Market, whose laws are interpreted by the European Court of Justice, then the court will still have power over Britain as far as its rulings on the Single Market go.
They argue that the only courts we should have to obey are our own British courts, interpreting British law made by our own sovereign parliament. Therefore, hard Brexiters insist we tear up our Single Market membership, along with our EU membership.