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Update: Brexit, Where We Are Now

Since our last blog, the Government has been defeated in several key votes and the crucial vote on the Brexit Deal scheduled for Tuesday 11 December has been postponed.

It’s been a busy few weeks for Brexit watchers. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister and the European Union released the proposed Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration.

Since then, the Government has been defeated in several key votes and the crucial vote on the Brexit Deal scheduled for Tuesday 11 December has been postponed.

Here we take a look at what all this means for musicians.

The Brexit Deal and Political Declaration

The Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration commit to end freedom of movement between the United Kingdom and European Union member states, which is a real problem for lots of our members.

The Political Declaration does say the Government will aim to negotiate temporary entry arrangements for people travelling for business, but there is no guarantee that this will be sufficient for our members’ purposes.

There is nothing in the proposal that guarantees that musicians who regularly visit a variety of EU countries throughout the year to work will be able to continue to do so.

The Musicians’ Union will continue to fight either for freedom of movement or, at the very least, a simple, cheap and admin-light EU touring visa for musicians and performers.

When will Parliament vote?

Members of Parliament were due to vote on the Brexit Deal on Tuesday 11 December, but Prime Minister Theresa May postponed the vote in a speech the day before the vote was due.

In her speech to MPs, she highlighted the border in Northern Ireland as the key reason why.

At the moment, there is no indication of when a new vote will go ahead.

However, the Prime Minister did say that the Brexit Deal will be returning to Parliament for a vote at some point in the future.

What happens after that?

If it passes in Parliament, and then the EU, there will be no change to your right to work in the EU until at least December 2020.

We will continue to press Government for clarity on your right to work in the EU after that date and a way for musicians to travel relatively freely and easily, for example a touring visa for musicians and performers.

If the Brexit Deal doesn’t pass, that could mean a re-negotiation or a no deal scenario. That would be uncharted territory for everyone.

In an ideal world, cancelling Brexit would be the ideal scenario for musicians.

However, if Brexit is to go ahead then our preference is a re-negotiation, which opens space for freedom of movement to return – something we started lobbying for immediately after the Brexit referendum, and which remains our first preference for musicians in the event of Brexit.

The Musicians’ Union (MU) will be keeping members updated via Twitter, Facebook and email – so make sure your email is up to date by logging in to My MU.

A People’s Vote

We are proud to support a People’s Vote. Whatever Parliament decides now or in the future, we believe it is important that you have a say on the final outcome.

As a trade union that democracy is in our DNA – our members ask us to negotiate a deal, we do that, and take that deal back to members with a consultative ballot. You can’t undermine democracy with more democracy.

What you can do right now

Lastly, there has been talk of a snap election almost daily since the last one in 2017.

The next election is not due until 2022, but who knows what will happen between now and then. That’s why we encourage everyone to ensure they are registered to vote.

If you are already registered, you must re-register if you have changed name, address or nationality.

Not a musician?

That’s okay – if you love music, you can still show your support.

Published: 10/12/2018

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