UK government blame others for their own incompetence in EU talks

EU Exit: Negotiations and the Joint Committee (19th October 2020)

Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West
We have heard it all now: it is just, according to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, “an unfortunate sequence of events”, otherwise known as the Lemony Snicket defence—all the fault of evil uncle Olaf and his foreign friends. But on the serious point about this, consider how it will affect, for example, our musicians who go on tour. They are usually not part of large operations. They might take their instrument, fly on a budget flight, try to sell some of their merchandise, cross a few borders in the European Union—that is how they scrape a living. They are making no money now. Will he please consider the consequences of no deal, admit that this is not a frivolous issue but a matter of people’s livelihoods, and seriously engage with it rather than take this frivolous and superficial approach?

Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but I certainly would not take a frivolous approach towards the livelihoods of anyone, whether they are freelance musicians or anyone else who contributes to the health, prosperity and economy of this country. That is one of the reasons why we are so anxious to secure an agreement with the European Union and why we have been working so hard and in such a dedicated fashion in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. I mentioned earlier that as a result of the progress that we have made with Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, the rights of 4 million EU citizens in the UK are now guaranteed, as are the rights of over 1 million citizens of the UK in the EU. More needs to be done to ensure that we can have a free trade agreement, but I absolutely take seriously the rights of citizens—whether they are, as I say, freelancers or others—to continue to be able to work and live freely.