MP and Brexit negotiator David Frost has admitted to understanding the issues surrounding touring artists after the Brexit deal that he helped to hammer out.
The former Brexit Minister even added that “a whole set of problems” has been caused by the UK’s deal to leave the EU, particularly amongst musicians.
“There is a whole set of problems here that are making life difficult on both sides: youth mobility, movement of specialists like musicians and artists,” Frost said in a recent lecture reported by The Independent.
“We should take another look at mobility issues,” he argued but said he thought that such problems could “be solved” with a new deal.
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The UK music industry has been drastically affected by Brexit in the years following the deal. In a 2021 survey of 2,080 artists, 58% agreed that “the Government should be doing more to ensure musicians can work abroad post-Brexit.”
A lack of clarity on post-Brexit touring left many musicians in a “critical position” having to find ways around touring with visas and added paperwork, navigating a new complex system of migration requirements.
In July last year, the former Brexit Minister said that it wasn’t his responsibility to help touring musicians with post-Brexit issues, also refusing to confirm whether negotiations would be made to alleviate the problems by the end of the year.
“The country took a decision to leave the European Union and to end freedom of movement, but that brings with it a big change,” he said. “There’s no point in pretending that change hasn’t happened.”
Now, David Frost appears to have admitted to the issues caused by the deal that he helped to strike adding that he “felt sorry that [creative workers] have to face this situation”.
“We should try to get to it,” Frost said on sparking a new deal, adding: “this time, we should try harder”.
The Brexit negotiator also said that he had been “too purist” on the problems caused, but they could be resolved with a new deal removing “excessive paperwork and process requirements” despite what other MPs have previously said.
Frost’s comments have been described as “an astonishing admission of guilt” by Labour MP Kevin Brennan, who added that “purist dogma has ruined successful British businesses and hit artists income hard.”
“They will rightly be furious with an incompetent government that sacrificed them for no good reason,” he told The Independent.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter