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MPs to debate EU-wide visa-free work permits for musicians

MPs have agreed to debate the petition which racked up over 280,000 signatures and is fighting for is calling for visa-free work permits across Europe for UK touring musicians and their crew post-Brexit.

This news comes after government ministers previously rebuked calls from the music industry begging them to keep fighting to secure a visa-free touring plan to ensure that musicians and crew can continue to tour the EU with ease. Conservative MP Caroline Dinenage acknowledged the situation in the Commons and claimed that the EU’s solution that they offered would not have ended free movement for citizens after Brexit and it would have allowed “visa-free short-stays for all EU citizens”.

“That is just simply not compatible with our manifesto commitment to taking back control of our borders,” she told the house. Dinenage then noted that the Government was set to release all the details from these failed negotiations and insisted that they attempt to work with European nations “to find ways to make life easier” for musicians.

“There are 359 mentions of the £1.2billion fishing industry in the 1248 page Brexit Deal, and the outcome is a completely unworkable shambles,” wrote Mark Davyd of the Music Venue Trust in retaliation to the news. “The £110billion Creative Industries aren’t mentioned once. So let’s see how well that plays out.”

Now, news has come out that the Government is to debate the petition in a virtual hearing of MPs. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this will occur online rather than in parliament. The debate around the touring musicians’ petition will take place from 4.30 pm on February 8th. It will be broadcast live on both parliamentlive.tv and YouTube, the session is set to last around 90 minutes.

Labour MP Catherine McKinnell, Chair of the Petitions Committee has stated: “I’m delighted we have been able to schedule two e-petition sessions, where Members from across the House, including those self-isolating and shielding, will be able to scrutinise the Government directly on issues raised by petitioners.

“As was the case when Westminster Hall was closed due to Covid-19 last year, we have had to innovate to find ways to hold the Government to account, and crucially to voice the concerns of petitioners in the House of Commons, while our usual debates cannot be held. As these petitions demonstrate, there are important issues affecting hundreds of thousands of people that are being missed. Their calls for help and support must be heard,” she added.

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