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MPs to discuss petition relating to arrangements for UK musicians in the EU

26 January 2021

On Monday 8 February, MPs will discuss a petition relating to arrangements for UK Musicians in the EU. The petition, titled ‘Seek Europe-wide Visa-free work permit for Touring professionals and Artists’, has more than 280,000 signatures. Catherine McKinnell, Chair of the Petitions Committee, will open the session. Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister for Digital and Culture, will respond for the Government.

Ahead of the session, the Committee has written to the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden MP to ask for clarity on the Government’s negotiations with the EU regarding arrangements for visa-free travel for musicians, in light of recent press reports.

The session comes as sittings in Westminster Hall, the traditional debating Chamber for e-petitions, are suspended and the Government has said it currently has no plans to enable virtual participation. The session will allow petitioners’ concerns to be debated by MPs, including those who are shielding, and will be broadcast live on Parliament TV. The Committee held two similar sessions during the closure of Westminster Hall last year, and has scheduled a further such session on a petition relating to Stamp Duty Land Tax relief for Monday 1 February.

The 90-minute virtual sessions will be open to Members from across the House, including those who are self-isolating or shielding. The sessions will be broadcast live on parliamentlive.tv and on YouTube, and a transcript of each session will be published.  

Chair comments

“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.”

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