Roger Daltrey says he's not changed his opinion on the EU and is "glad to be free of Brussels", despite signing an open letter calling on the government to urgently establish visa-free travel for musicians.
A prominent Brexiteer, Daltrey previously told Sky News arts and entertainment reporter Bethany Minelle that Brexit "had nothing to do with the rock business".
When asked during an interview at Wembley Stadium in March 2019 whether the UK leaving the EU would be "bad for British rock music", Daltrey said: "No. What's it got to do with the rock business? How are you going to tour in Europe? Oh dear. As if we didn't tour Europe before the f***ing EU. Oh give it up!"
Clearly not impressed by the line of questioning, the sweary 76-year-old rocker added: "If you want to be signed up to be ruled by a f***ing mafia, you do it. Like being governed by FIFA."
However, after The Who frontman added his support to more than 100 music stars – including Liam Gallagher, Ed Sheeran and Sting – calling on the government to resolve the free movement issue, many were quick to accuse the musician of hypocrisy.
Responding to the backlash, which led the singer's original Sky News interview to trend on Twitter, Daltrey has clarified his position.
He said in a statement: "I have not changed my opinion on the EU. I'm glad to be free of Brussels, not Europe.
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"I would have preferred reform, which was asked for by us before the referendum and was turned down by the then president of the EU.
"I do think our government should have made the easing of restrictions for musicians and actors a higher priority.
"Every tour, individual actors and musicians should be treated as any other 'Goods' at the point of entry to the EU with one set of paperwork.
"Switzerland has borders with five EU countries, and trade is electronically frictionless. Why not us?"
The letter, which was organised by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and published in The Times, said there was a "gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be".
It also called on the government "to urgently do what it said it would do and negotiate paperwork-free travel in Europe for British artists and their equipment".
Since the UK left the EU and free movement ended, performing artists hoping to tour in the EU must now seek separate permits to work in many of the 27 member states.
They will also have to pay for permits to cross borders with their equipment and trucks carrying kit or they could have their journeys capped.
The industry has long warned that leaving the EU without a specific deal for creatives would make touring prohibitively expensive and complicated for many artists.
However, the issue has gathered momentum in recent weeks, with an online petition calling for a visa-free travel cultural work permit with the EU attracting more than 267,000 signatures.
There have been conflicting reports over whether the UK government rejected a standard proposal put forward by the EU to exempt performers from needing a visa to enter the UK for trips under 90 days.
Culture minister Caroline Dinenage said the EU rejected the UK's plan, but denied that a visa-free travel period for musicians had ever been offered by the EU.