Brexit trade deal failed touring musicians, admits former chief negotiator

18 March 2022, 13:54 | Updated: 18 March 2022, 15:06

Lord David Frost admits UK Brexit deal failed touring musicians
Lord David Frost admits UK Brexit deal failed touring musicians. Picture: Getty

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

On Tuesday, the former Brexit minister admitted the deal he helped negotiate has negatively impacted touring musicians.

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David Frost, the former Chief Negotiator of Task Force Europe, has said the Brexit deal he helped negotiate presents “a whole set of problems” for touring musicians and their crew.

His comments come after over a year of concerns raised by prominent musicians regarding touring in the EU post Brexit, and statements from the Government regarding visa and work permit-free touring, that some have described as misleading.

In a lecture on Tuesday, given three months after he resigned from the Government position at the end of last year, the former secretary of state revealed that “there is a whole set of problems here that is making life difficult on both sides: youth mobility, movement of specialists like musicians and artists.

“We should take another look at mobility issues,” he admitted.

Read more: ‘I’ve lost £40,000 already’ – survey finds Brexit red tape is crippling touring musicians

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians), asked on Twitter, after news of Lord Frost’s U-Turn was reported in The Independent, what the former secretary of state was, “going to do to sort out the mess he has caused.”

After Brexit negotiations were completed in 2021, leading musicians raised issues free-visa touring in the EU. Sir Elton John was among many high-profile British artists to put his name to a public letter. They said musicians had been “shamefully failed” by the government.

The Musicians’ Union has also released a statement on Lord Frost’s “long overdue” admission.

“Our members have unnecessarily faced two years of uncertainty,” said Naomi Pohl, MU General Secretary Elect.

“What we need is an EU-wide deal which enables our members to tour in Europe or bilateral agreements with individual territories."

“We have provided evidence and suggested solutions but very little progress has been made by the Government,” Ms Pohl continues, “Musicians need to be able to plan tours and accept work in the EU with confidence, particularly coming out of two dreadful years of pandemic closures.”

The MU will be “urgently writing to the Government to continue this conversation” following Lord Frost’s admission.