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Former Labour MP Tom Watson named new UK Music chair


Former deputy leader of the Labour Party and shadow culture secretary, Tom Watson, has been revealed as the new chair of UK Music.

The former MP for West Bromwich takes over from Andy Heath in the role and has been vocal about his love of music in the past, famously referencing Drenge in his 2013 resignation letter from being Labour’s General Election Co-Ordinator. Watson’s letter addressed to the leader at the time Ed Miliband read: “John Humphrys asked me why you were not at Glastonbury this weekend. I said Labour leaders can’t be seen standing in muddy fields listening to bands. And then I thought how terribly sad that this is true. So: be that great Labour leader that you can be, but try to have a real-life too. And if you want to see an awesome band, I recommend Drenge.”

In a statement following the announcement earlier today, the newly appointed Watson said: “UK Music speaks with a powerful voice for the whole of the UK commercial music sector. And at the heart of the sector are the songwriters and musicians, many thousands of whom stand ready to serve in the national effort against the coronavirus.”

Waston continued: “In ordinary times, the UK’s commercial music sector contributes £5.2 billion to the UK economy and supports 190,000 jobs. The cancellation of live music events has devastated the sector. Thousands of jobs are now in peril and threaten the long-term bottom line of the UK economy. Our urgent task is to work with our colleagues and partners in Government to support the national effort to defeat coronavirus, whilst protecting the jewel in the crown of British culture – commercial music. “

The former deputy culture secretary then noted: “When we’re through this crisis, UK Music has an important part to play in Britain’s developing new role in the world. We believe we can be the Prime Minister’s calling card to every country on the planet. There will be much to say about this in the months ahead but first, let’s deal with this crisis. I will be seeking urgent talks with ministers and officials to ensure that we support the music-makers of Britain and the industry that always sustains us through the good times and the bad.”