AN SNP MP has secured a debate in the Commons today, challenging the UK Government to U-turn on its politically motivated decision to scrap performers’ touring visas post-Brexit.

Pete Wishart MP, who toured with world-renowned bands including Runrig and Big Country, said the UK Government had treated performers “like pawns on a chessboard” during Brexit negotiations.

Following days of denial by the UK Government, last week it finally emerged that the proposal to grant UK performers visa-free tours in the EU was rejected by British negotiators because the Tories did not want to extend the same courtesy to EU artists visiting the UK.

Wishart is now calling on the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, to scrap the new work visa in order for Scotland to continue its decades of rich, cultural history.

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Speaking ahead of the debate, former musician Wishart said:“We now know that, despite the EU side offering, the UK Government rejected proposals that would have allowed musicians and performers to travel across the EU without visas.

“I’m calling on Oliver Dowden to work with his colleagues in the UK Government and U-turn on this ludicrous decision – one which will not only leave creatives in the UK drowning in red tape, but will also shut the door on those European creatives who enrich the cultural tapestry of these islands.

“Scotland did not vote for this isolationist approach to policy-making. While the Tories at Westminster treat our creative sector like pawns on a chessboard, Scotland wants to open its arms and welcome our European friends and neighbours.

“The UK Government has had time to reconsider this decision; to help performers and musicians, but they have done nothing of the sort. It’s time for an urgent rethink before these opportunities are lost.”