UK music legends criticise ‘shameful’ government over tour visas

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Today’s daily politics briefing

More than 100 top British musicians – including Sir Elton John, Sting and Liam Gallagher and Pink Floyd’s – have signed an open letter saying performers have been “shamefully failed” by Boris Johnson’s government over post-Brexit travel rules.

The group accused Downing Street of breaking a promise to negotiate visa-free travel in the EU. It comes as Conservative MPs have voted to rip out an amendment to the government’s trade bill to prevent the NHS being sold off or undermined by post-Brexit agreements with other countries.

Meanwhile, the prime minister has said he is looking forward to working closely with Joe Biden as the US president-elect prepares to take office today. Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy called Mr Biden a “woke guy” – and suggested Labour could learn some lessons from his politics.

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Labour hails ‘woke guy’ Biden

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy has called incoming US president Joe Biden a “woke guy” – and suggested Labour could learn some lessons from his politics.

She pointed out that Biden defended trans rights and Black Lives Matter, and said his victory is victory was “a source of hope for a lot of progressive parties around the world”.

In an interview with The Guardian, she said: “Joe Biden – he’s a woke guy, he appointed an amazing strong woman of colour who is also pro-choice as his running mate.

“He mentioned the trans community in his victory speech, he stood up for the Black Lives Matter protesters, he spoke out about the policing of that movement, and he’s never shied away from standing up for his values.”

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Adam Forrest20 January 2021 08:50

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UK music legends blast ‘shameful’ government

More than 100 British musicians – including Sting, Sir Elton John, Liam Gallagher and Pink Floyd’s – have signed an open letter saying performers have been “shamefully failed” by the government over post-Brexit travel rules.

The music legends said the government had broken a promise to negotiate visa-free travel in the EU – first revealed by The Independent last week.

It urges the government to “do what it said it would do” and negotiate paperwork-free travel to Europe for British artists and their equipment.

Even Roger Daltrey from The Who – a Brexiteer who previously dismissed the idea of touring problems – has signed the letter.

Liam Gallagher

(APA/AFP via Getty Images)

Adam Forrest20 January 2021 08:47

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Tory MPs rip out NHS protections from trade bill

Conservative MPs have ripped out an amendment to the government’s trade bill to prevent the NHS being sold off or undermined by trade agreement with other countries.

The House of Lords had inserted a clause banning any agreement that “undermines or restricts” the UK’s ability to provide “a comprehensive publicly funded health service free at the point of delivery”.

The amendment also restricted “the sale of patient data” and the ability to control drug prices.

But in a vote on Tuesday night MPs rejected the amendment by 357 votes to 266. The governing party’s MPs were the only ones to vote against the protections.

Labour’s shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry said she could “see why any member of the House would disagree with” the amendment.

Adam Forrest20 January 2021 08:39

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Boris Johnson scrambles to woo Biden

Boris Johnson has said he is looking forward to working closely with Joe Biden as the US president-elect prepares to take office today.

Keen to shake off the suspicion by some influential Democrats who regard him as a “Trump clone”, the PM said: “In our fight against Covid and across climate change, defence, security and in promoting and defending democracy, our goals are the same and our nations will work hand in hand to achieve them.”

Downing Street is reportedly hoping to set up regular dialogue on Northern Ireland will help win over top Democrats still cynical about Johnson, Brexit and No 10’s recent flirtation with ditching key parts of the withdrawal agreement.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis is set to head to America soon, according to Katy Balls in the i newspaper. She also says there’s “talk” of seconding a staff member focussed on Northern Ireland issues to the US embassy in London.

Joe Biden

(Associated Press)

Adam Forrest20 January 2021 08:35

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