The Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to rule out continuing contributions to bloc’s budget ahead of negotiations.
But in a clear message to Theresa May, one of the largest opinion polls since Britain’s decision to leave the EU has revealed Eurosceptic voters think cutting off funding to Brussels is the top priority.
The poll, conducted by former Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft, could serve as a guide to the Prime Minister as her team try to secure the best deal for the British public.
It found Brexit-voting respondents believed being able to choose which EU nationals can live in the UK was less important than both cutting off EU payouts and being subject to the rulings of the European Court of Justice.
Access to the single market was an even lower priority to Brexit backers than border controls
But access to the single market was an even lower priority – with 42 per cent of respondents overall claiming controlling immigration was more important compared to 34 per cent who prioritised the tariff-free trading bloc.
One voter said: “If the Prime Minister has to choose, it’s got to be the people side of it.
“Tariff-free trade benefits the EU more than us because of our trade deficit.
“She’s got to be able to say we’re only allowing certain people in at certain times – that’s what people voted for.
Brexit day: images from around the country as Britain invokes Article 50 Mon, April 3, 2017
The country reacts as Theresa May officially invokes Article 50, and begins the process of Britain leaving the European Union
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Pro-EU demonstrators protest outside Parliament
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The poll claims Eurosceptic voters think cutting off funding to Brussels is the top priority
“Trade is a bit of a red herring.”
It comes after Boris Johnson claimed Britain could allow EU free movement to continue during a transition period to tighter border controls.
The Foreign Secretary echoed a suggestion by Mrs May that restrictions on European citizens coming to Britain may have to be phased in some time after the country leaves the EU.
Like the Prime Minister, he did not put a time scale on the possible transition period.
May has repeatedly refused to rule out continuing contributions to bloc’s budget
42 per cent of respondents said controlling immigration was more important than single market access
Questioned in Athens, the Foreign Secretary said: "Ideally I think it could be done, what with goodwill and imagination it could be done as fast as – I think it can be done in two years.
"In the last 10 years I have been one of the few British politicians to speak up on the benefits of immigration.
“We don't want to close the doors. We simply want to have a system that is balanced.”