Brexiter musician accused of ‘hypocrisy’ after complaining about his band needing a visa to tour in Europe

Joanna Taylor
Thursday 21 January 2021 10:28
(Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Brexiter Roger Daltrey has been accused of hypocrisy after complaining that the UK’s trade deal with the EU is failing musicians.

The Who singer has previously underplayed Brexit’s likely impact on live music; for instance, by growing exasperated with a Sky News interviewer who asked him about it in 2019. He retorted:

“What’s it got to do with the rock business? As if we didn’t tour in Europe before the f***ing EU.”

Elsewhere during the interview, he compared them to the “f***ing mafia”. 

But now Daltrey’s name is among 110 signatories to a letter published in The Times which accuses the government of “shamefully failing” live performers.

It goes on to state that, because of the government’s “negotiating failure”, “many tours [are] unviable, especially for young, emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the Covid ban on live music.”

Other signatories to the letter, which was organised by the Liberal Democrats, include Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John.

The UK rejected an EU proposal to extend the music visa scheme during negotiations because it would have meant allowing “visa-free short-stays for all EU citizens”, according to minister Caroline Dinenage.

The offer “would not have been compatible with the government’s manifesto commitment to take back control of our borders”, she added.

In the wake of Daltrey’s apparent change of heart, people are accusing him of “hypocrisy” and reminding him of his past statements. 

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden plans to meet with musicians to discuss their concerns.