Government told to 'come clean' over Brexit betrayal of musicians and artists

Baroness Bakewell is one of the critics of the Brexit deal

Baroness Bakewell is one of the critics of the Brexit deal - Credit: Parliament Live

Touring musicians and road crews have been “betrayed” by the government in the Brexit trade deal, the Lords has been told.

Liberal Democrat Lord Strasburger urged ministers to apologise for having “screwed up” negotiations and come back with nothing.

Leading musicians have criticised the government’s Brexit deal for not including visa-free travel for musicians, with UK ministers and the EU blaming each other for the failure to reach an agreement.

Lord Strasburger said the government told the Commons a year ago that free movement for musicians was essential, but it had been left out of the deal.

“Will the government now come clean with the touring musicians and crews it has betrayed and say to them, ‘We’re sorry, we screwed up the trade negotiation and came back with absolutely nothing for you, having promised you everything – we’ll go back to Brussels immediately and sort it out’?” he asked.

Broadcaster Baroness Bakewell said it was an unsatisfactory situation for pop and classical musicians.

Lady Bakewell, a Labour peer, urged ministers to “set aside the blame game” and reopen negotiations with the EU.

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Lord Mann, a non-affiliated peer, warned that if the situation was not resolved “our world-leading jazz sector will start to lose its world-leading reputation”.

Composer and broadcaster Lord Berkeley of Knighton said that instead of UK musicians bringing billions of pounds into the economy “we’re going to be in a negative position”.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport minister Baroness Barran denied the government had “betrayed” the sector, saying support of £1.57 billion had been provided through the culture recovery fund.

Lady Barran told him: “I absolutely reject any suggestion that this government has betrayed the sector.

“We continue to support them. We champion the sector with a £1.57 billion culture recovery package and we work in a very constructive tone with them and continue to do so.”

She said export earnings were extremely important but insisted “larger groups” would be less impacted by the changes.

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