Having failed to attend a DCMS Committee meeting on 10 June, Brexit negotiator-turned-Cabinet Office minister Lord Frost will be question by MPs tomorrow, 29 June, on the Government’s failure to reach an agreement with the EU on visa-free travel to the EU for British performers and their crew.
Frost was the Government’s chief negotiator for exiting the European Union (2019-2020). The rescheduled session will see the DCMS Committee focus on what the Government is doing to resolve ongoing problems in the absence of a deal that would have enabled visa-free travel to the EU for British creatives.
Agent and LIVE Touring Group chair Craig Stanley told the previous session that he had been asked by Elton John to read a statement to the Committee which called on the Government to “sort this mess out” or “risk losing future generations of world-beating talent”.
Creative sectors impacted by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement include: touring musicians and performers; crews and road hauliers; fashion industry workers; theatre and technical staff; artists; and major museums with touring exhibitions.
Lord Frost had initially refused an invitation in February, however the prime minister at a meeting of the Liaison Committee in March agreed that Lord Frost was the right person to give evidence to the DCMS Committee.
DCMS Committee chair Julian Knight had expressed disappointment at Lord Frost’s decision to cancel his appearance before MPs earlier this month, a meeting which had been in the diary for several months.
In an interview with the Observer published yesterday, Elton John criticised the Government’s “philistine” failure to achieve an agreement with the EU for touring performers, their crew and equipment.
He said, “I’m livid about what the government did when Brexit happened. They made no provision for the entertainment business, and not just for musicians, actors and film directors, but for the crews, the dancers, the people who earn a living by going to Europe.
“We’ve been talking to Lord Strasburger about it, and we’ve been talking to Lord Frost, but we didn’t really get anywhere with him. It’s a nightmare. To young people just starting a career, it’s crucifying.”
The DCMS Committee session will be available to watch live on parliamentlive.tv.