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6 MPs on Working in the EU post-Brexit and the Musicians’ Passport

The MU is fighting for a Musicians’ Passport so that you can keep working in the EU post-Brexit. And it looks like the message is getting through.

Published: 27 January 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 12 July 2021 | 5:00 PM
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MPs are ultimately accountable to their constituents - which means you have the power to make the listen. Photo credit: Shutterstock

MPs just debated music and the economy in Parliament. In their speeches, they kept coming back to the potential problems around visas, carnets and other issues that musicians could face if future Brexit negotiations don’t take into account how musicians work. Here's a look at what they had to say.

MPs support the Musicians’ Passport – and your right to keep working in the EU post Brexit

“I want to add my support to… the campaign by the Musicians’ Union on the crucial need for an EU-wide touring visa for musicians who are working, and we want to see that last a minimum of two years, be free or cheap, and cover all EU member states.

“We want to get rid of the need for carnets and other permits, and, of course, we want to cover road crew, technicians and all the other staff necessary for musicians to do their job,” said Stephen Doughty MP (Cardiff South and Penarth).

MPs like the Musicians’ Passport for lots of reasons – not just economic ones

“I hope that the Minister will look carefully at the Musicians’ Passport. I want the kids in my constituency to have the same opportunities that musicians had in past decades.

“I want them to be rewarded based on talent, and not on networks or how many followers they can buy on social media. I want them to be able to showcase their talent on stages in Sheffield so that they can then showcase it to the world.

“Those things are not “nice to haves”. They are fundamental to our economy and culture, and they tell the world everything about what it is to be British,” said Louise Haigh MP (Sheffield, Heeley)

It's a cross party issue

“I totally support the UK Music and Musicians’ Union call for a single, EU-wide live music touring passport to avoid those restrictions.

“I really hope that the Government take that seriously. I know the Minister has looked at this before, and I know it is within the gift of the Government to do something about it.

“If one initiative could solve this problem, it would be to do with that,” added Pete Wishart MP, representing the SNP in Perth and North Perthshire.

And something you can support if you voted Leave or Remain

“I know that the Minister was a Brexiteer, but it is vital that musicians are able to exercise freedom of movement on our departure from the EU and the end of the implementation period.

“This is not just about large orchestras or big touring bands, which may or may not have the resources and capacity to absorb that. It is also about the small gigging musician who may have a few fans and followers in Berlin, Italy or wherever, who is on an easyJet flight carrying their own instrument and for whom this is a highly marginal activity but one that could lead to a very major career in music.

“I hope that the Minister bears that in mind and ensures that the music passport proposal becomes reality and freedom of movement does also,” explained musician, MU member and Shadow Culture Minister Kevin Brennan MP (Cardiff West).

They asked the Government what it is doing to make the Musicians’ Passport a reality

“Will the Government work towards a passporting arrangement, so that there is a reciprocal system and musicians can continue to perform with minimum disruption post-Brexit? Will they work with EU member states to ensure that the imposition of a carnet system on music equipment does not cause delays to gigs?” asked Conor McGinn MP (St Helens North).

The message is getting through

“Touring is absolutely the lifeblood of the industry.

“We recognise the importance of the continued ease of movement of musicians, equipment, merchandise once we have left the EU…

“Visa rules for artists performing in the EU will not change until the implementation period ends in December 2020. It’s absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected post-2020,” said Culture Minister Nigel Adams.

We need your help to make the Musicians’ Passport a reality

We’ve had lots of support from MPs since we started campaigning back in 2016. But we need support from new MPs who won their seats in the last election if we want to make this happen.

Right now, they might not know the challenges facing musicians or our sector. And they need to know that you, as their constituent, care.

Invite your MP to our drop in event in Parliament.

MPs are ultimately accountable to their constituents - which means you have the power to make the listen.

Get MU membership today

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