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East Midlands ‘Carry on Touring’ campaigners nominated for Petition Campaign of the Year Award

10 February 2022

Tim Brennan and Ian Smith have been nominated for the Petition Campaign of the Year Award at the Your UK Parliament Awards.

The Petition Campaign of the Year Award celebrates the inspiring people who have used petitions started on Parliament’s petitions website to build support for their campaigns for change. Tim and Ian’s nomination follows their campaigning on arrangements for UK touring professionals and artists in the EU following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Tim, from Huncote in Leicestershire, is a video engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the touring sector. He started the petition “Seek Europe-wide Visa-free work permit for Touring professionals and Artists” in December 2020. Ian, from Matlock Bath in Derbyshire, created a website in January 2020 to provide artists with visa and permit information for 27 European countries, to help them navigate the new rules in the absence of an agreement with the EU.

Tim’s petition achieved more than 286,000 signatures, reaching the 100,000 threshold to be considered for debate in Parliament in just six days. As a result, he collaborated with Ian to create the ‘Carry on Touring’ campaign and build support for their cause.

In May 2020, the campaign organised an UK-EU summit, bringing together UK politicians from across the political spectrum and industry figures from all sectors in the UK and the EU.

The Committee held an evidence session on 4 February 2021 alongside MPs from the Digital, Culture Media and Sport and Scottish Affairs Committees. During the session, artists and other touring professionals, including Ian Smith, gave evidence on the impact that Brexit was already having on the sector and what the Government needed to do to address this issue. Following an e-petition session held on this petition on 8 February, at which MPs discussed the issue in depth, MPs across the House of Commons continued to raise this issue in the months that followed, maintaining pressure on the Government to act.

In November 2021, it was announced that the Spanish Government had removed requirements for UK artists on short-term tours, allowing them to tour for up to 90 days without a visa, a move the industry attribute to their campaigning on this topic.

The Your UK Parliament Awards judging panel will select the winners shortly, and the full list of nominees and the winner will be announced in due course. The panel includes MPs, members of the House of Lords, campaigning bodies, and past Award winners.

The other nominees

  • Dr Daniel Allen, Debbie Matthews, Dr Marc Abraham, Freya Woodhall, Beverley Cuddy, and John Cooper QC, for their campaign calling for pet theft to be made a specific criminal offence
  • Elaine Cunningham and Brian Mcelderry, for their campaign calling for commercial kitchens to be allowed to store inhalers for emergency use
  • Beckie Ramsay BEM, for her campaign to improve education about water safety in schools, particularly the risks associated with open water

Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, comments

“These campaigns demonstrate so powerfully how petitions can raise awareness of issues that might otherwise struggle to be heard in Parliament.

“The nominees have each shown how to organise a successful campaign, building on their petitions by gathering support from others affected by the same issue, charities, influential supporters, and the wider public.

“I have been moved by our nominees’ passion, determination, and ideas for how to tackle the problems they’ve set their minds to, and congratulate them on their achievements.”

The Your UK Parliament Awards

The annual Your UK Parliament Awards recognise the individuals across the UK who have taken democratic action on the issues they care about. In addition to the Petitions Campaign of the Year Award, there are a further seven categories, which celebrate individuals, schools, and organisations who have made a difference in their communities and beyond.

Further Information

Image: Tim Brennan