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EU Withdrawal Negotiations

Volume 628: debated on Thursday 14 September 2017

7. What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on her departmental priorities for the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. (900840)

I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on a range of issues affecting Department sectors in the context of leaving the EU.

Once again, the Edinburgh festivals were adversely affected this year by UK Visas and Immigration decisions that blocked performers from attending. Will the Secretary of State make representations to the Brexit Secretary that freedom of movement should be maintained after the UK leaves the EU, so that EU performers do not face the same difficulty getting to the Edinburgh festivals—and other festivals—as performers from elsewhere in the world already face?

As I said earlier, I visited the Edinburgh festival—as did the Arts Minister, the Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (John Glen)—this summer and I had a fantastic time. I was not aware of any issues with the UKVI blocking performers, but perhaps the hon. Lady can write to me on the specifics. She is talking about a situation where we already have free movement, so I am not sure how that particular issue affects leaving the European Union. All I would say is that I am mindful of the concerns about free movement and want to make sure we have as flexible a visa system as possible for performers from throughout the world.

As the Secretary of State will be aware, international broadcasters based in London are very concerned about Brexit and their future. They are already looking at relocating to continental Europe, which will affect jobs and investment. What steps has the Secretary of State taken to reassure those companies that they will not face a great switch-off on exit day?

I think the hon. Gentleman said broadcasters based in London. I am concerned about broadcasters based across the whole United Kingdom. I am, of course, aware of the concerns about the country of origin principle and I am working hard to ensure we get the most favourable deal for UK broadcasters, so that they can continue to thrive in the world-class industry we have at the moment.

I hope the Secretary of State will be aware of the ongoing problems that UK musicians have trying to get visas to tour in the United States. Will she assure me that as well as addressing those problems, which I am told have got worse recently, we will not see a replication of them when we leave the EU, and that musicians will not have to have visas to travel and tour around Europe?

As I said, I met the Immigration Minister earlier this week. The experiences of UK musicians touring throughout the world are very important in helping us to design an immigration system that not only works for the 27 member states, but the whole world.