Equity has said it would be open to the idea of a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, claiming that leaving with no deal would be a disaster for theatre workers.
The union said the defeat of Theresa May’s Brexit deal meant there were three options for the UK: not leaving the EU at all, calling a general election or returning “to the British people to decide on the best way forward for what our future relationship with the EU should look like”.
MPs voted against May’s deal last night (January 15), with 432 rejecting the agreement and 202 backing it.
A statement from Equity general secretary Christine Payne said: “With the decision taken last night, our first priory is to ensure that leaving the EU with no deal is avoided at all costs – which would be a disaster for our members.
Equity has long opposed Brexit and has been highly critical of the plans to end freedom of movement, expressing “grave concern” over the threat Brexit faces to entertainment industry workers.
Payne said the union would watch forthcoming developments closely and review any alternative options as they were presented. It has set out the three proposed options in case no solution is found.
Meanwhile, the Creative Industries Federation explicitly called for MPs to support a second referendum.
Chief executive Alan Bishop said: “We have now reached an undeniable cliff edge, and it is imperative that our political parties do what is necessary to prevent the extreme damage that will be caused if we crash out of the EU.”
The Incorporated Society of Musicians’ chief executive Deborah Annetts also stressed the perils of a no-deal scenario.
She warned that despite the defeat of a deal the ISM opposed, the UK is now “less than 10 weeks away from crashing out of the EU without a deal, ending mobility rules overnight and causing huge economic and social disruption”.
Annetts reiterated that if Brexit were to go forward as planned, the government must propose an alternative deal that protects freedom of movement rights for musicians, or introduce a dedicated visa for British musicians working in the EU.
Meanwhile, the Musicians’ Union said it welcomed the collapse of May’s Brexit deal, and will continue to oppose any Brexit that removes freedom of movement for musicians.
“We will speak to MPs and other decision makes over the coming days in order to influence the best possible outcome for our members and we will post updates when available,” it said.