Tory MP Bernard Jenkin explained the UK used to export talent across the European Union and is now “severely threatened”. He questioned Boris Johnson if he was able to speak to German Chancellor Angela Merkel about visas for musicians and artists in Europe. Speaking to the Liaison Committee, Mr Jenkin said: “I think I would have liked the chance to ask Chancellor Merkel who wants to stop cultural exchange which is one of the objectives of her visit.
“The answer is the European Commission.
“We would not stop visiting artists coming to our own country but we are losing people from London permanently.
“They are going to take residence in other European countries with European citizenship because they can’t pursue their careers by staying in London.”
Mr Johnson replied: “I hope that we’re not and the evidence doesn’t seem to support the view that we’re losing all EU nationals.”
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Mr Jenkin interjected: “It’s not about EU nationals, it’s about British citizens taking up EU citizenship in other countries because their career opportunities are so limited to what they were.
“It’s a very serious problem, Prime Minister.”
It comes as community propaganda is “rife” around the Northern Ireland Protocol, a Belfast community worker has warned.
Eileen Weir, a veteran community worker at the heart of the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast, said the post-Brexit mechanism “needs (to be) fixed” but emphasised that many are “only hearing the negative”.
Ms Weir was among six women who gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
She spoke of concern that “community propaganda is rife”.
“The Protocol needs (to be) fixed, it’s not good in parts of it but we’re only hearing the negative and we’re not hearing the positive and our communities need to have some positive language coming out, we can’t keep being doom and gloom, we need to have that positive message that comes along with it – and continue working on the bits that aren’t working,” she said.
“I’m not saying forget about it, I’m saying fix it but just don’t dwell on the hardship of it, let’s dwell on some of the good parts of it because a lot of businesses are thriving here within Northern Ireland because people can’t get their supplies in from Great Britain.”
Ms Weir said fear in the loyalist community started in 2012 when Belfast City Council voted to fly the Union flag only on statutory days instead of all year round, and an unfounded fear around Irish language legislation for some that their Britishness is being taken away from them.
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