Elton John launches scathing attack on the Tories for ‘screwing up’ the Brexit deal

<p>Elton John performing</p>

Elton John performing


Elton John slammed the UK’s Brexit negotiators who he claimed had “screwed up” the deal for British musicians and called on the government to go back to the negotiating table.

The superstar singer said: “Either the Brexit negotiators didn’t care about musicians, or didn’t think about them, or weren’t sufficiently prepared. They screwed up.

“It’s ultimately down to the British government to sort it out: they need to go back and renegotiate.”

In an opinion piece for The Guardian, John added: “The situation we’re currently in is ridiculous.

“Music is one of Britain’s greatest cultural exports. It’s a £5.8bn industry that got left out of the Brexit trade negotiations when others weren’t.”

New paperwork and costs for touring musicians include the need to obtain visas or work permits for each country in the European Union, and a customs document for the movement of equipment such as musical instruments.

John described his band’s 1966 residency at a club in Hamburg as a “real baptism of fire” and lamented that young musicians now are unlikely to get that chance.

He called the new regulations “an administrative nightmare” and said it was “absolutely vital for new artists to tour Europe” to nurture their talent.

The pop and rock icon added: “I don’t want to live in a world where the only artists who can afford to tour properly are those who have been going for decades and have already sold millions of records...

"We need a new generation of superstars, not least because one generation of superstars – my generation – are getting older, retiring and dying off.”

To help rectify this issue, John proposed a short-term fix of setting up an organisation to provide artists with access to lawyers and accountants and support them in navigating touring problems created by Brexit.

John has also been outspoken against Brexit in the past.

While on stage in Verona during his world tour in 2019, the singer said: “I am ashamed of my country for what it has done. It’s torn people apart… I am sick to death of politicians, especially British politicians. 

“I am sick to death of Brexit. I am a European. I am not a stupid, colonial, imperialist English idiot.”

And, in 2018, he claimed: “I don’t think people in Britain were told the truth to start with… They were promised something that was completely ridiculous and wasn’t economically viable.”

Social media users praised John for advocating on behalf of smaller-name musicians in his latest comments.

Some also echoed his statements on Brexit's potential impact on the music industry.

The government prompted outrage when it was revealed to have previously rejected an offer of visa-free tours by musicians to EU countries.

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