Immigration: 87% of Lib Dem members back free movement of EU people; but 65% also support benefit restrictions for EU migrants

by Stephen Tall on January 6, 2014

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

87% of Lib Dems support the free movement of EU citizens

Overall, do you support or oppose the right of people in EU countries to live and work wherever they want?

    87% – Support
    6% – Oppose
    1% – Don’t know
    5% – Other

An overwhelming proportion (87%) of Lib Dem members support the right of people in EU countries to live and work wherever they want. Just 6% are opposed, according to our survey; though many of the 5% who selected ‘Other’ supported the free movement of people within the EU conditionally, either through quotas or restrictions of access to benefits. Lib Dem enthusiasm contrasts with the general public’s views – when this same question was recently asked, just 38% of Brits supported the right of people in EU countries to live and work wherever they want, compared to 49% who opposed it.

Two-thirds support restricting benefits for migrants

Do you support or oppose stopping migrants from the European Union from claiming out-of-work benefits unless they have lived in Britain for at least three months?

    65% – Support
    23% – Oppose
    6% – Don’t know
    6% – Other

Two-thirds (65%) of Lib Dem members support the Coalition’s proposals to stop migrants from the European Union from claiming out-of-work benefits unless they have lived in Britain for at least three months. Just under one-quarter of members oppose the move, which was announced by David Cameron announced in one of his latest crackdowns in November in an attempt to reassure the public that he has the immigration issue under control.

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 749 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 14th and 18th December.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.