Bob Geldof has claimed “lying is second nature” to Boris Johnson’s government as he accused it of betraying British businesses to deliver Brexit.
Geldof said Downing Street were “a hapless lot” who put politics ahead of the economic wellbeing of the nation.
The Irish singer-songwriter turned political activist claimed No 10 was never serious about clenching a “tailored deal” for musicians looking to tour in the EU.
“They wanted to set about a tailored deal but lying is second nature to this crowd. The prime minister himself has a long history of it,” Geldof told Sky News.
“They betrayed the fishermen, they betrayed the farmers, they betrayed the musicians, they’ve cast Northern Ireland aside, they’ve betrayed the financial sector and by doing this to the music business, they’re betraying the culture.
“They’re a fairly hapless lot.”
The artist’s comment comes as the government confirmed it rejected an offer by the EU to extend a music visa scheme that allowed performers a 90-day visa-free window to tour in Europe.
Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said No 10 declined the offer because it was not “compatible with the government’s manifesto commitment to take back control of our borders”.
The government said it made a counteroffer which the EU deemed unfit for purpose and sought to blame the trading bloc for the current woes of musicians – a stance Brussels has firmly rejected.
Some 100 music stars have accused the government of “shamefully failing” the country’s performers with its EU trade deal.
In a letter published in The Times on Wednesday, they said the government’s “negotiating failure” threatened the future of cultural exchange with Europe and that new Brexit red tape would make “many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the Covid ban on live music”.
Among those was The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey who once said being an EU member was like being “ruled by a ****** mafia”.
Daltrey, a firm Brexit supporter, came under considerable fire online.
“Poor old Roger Daltrey singing ‘won’t get fooled again’ for fifty years before getting totally mugged off by Brexit,” joked one user called Dave.
Green politician Molly Cato wrote: “When Roger Daltrey supported Brexit he was voting with his generation and against the interests of younger generations. He may not have realized he was also voting against the interests of his own profession.”