Lord Frost told Sir Elton John to swing behind British diplomatic efforts to convince EU countries to reduce visa rules for touring performers on Tuesday, rather than mourn the end of freedom of movement.

The Brexit minister told Culture Committee MPs he had met with the Rocketman, who has branded the Government "philistines" for failing to grasp the impact of Brexit on performers. 

Since Brexit, UK musicians are no longer guaranteed visa free travel to the EU and can incur large administrative fees and costs on tour. 

"I had a good conversation with Elton John," Lord Frost told MPs. "I can’t help noticing that he had his first hits before the UK even became a member of the European Union.

"So I think there’s probably more at play here than pure rules applying within the then European Community.

"Talent is important and that’s why we support our talented industries."

Lord Frost said he had told Sir Elton that he could use his networks in EU member states to encourage them to make their regulations less restrictive. "I think we would very much welcome that, I said that to Elton John and I will say that to others," he said. 

"The country took a decision to leave the European Union. It took a decision to end free movement, and that is what we want to deliver on. And as I said that brings big change."

Lord Frost said that Elton John and other artists could use their networks to encourage European nations to make their regulations less restrictive

Credit: VICKIE FLORES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Julian Knight, the Tory MP who chairs the committee, said travel rules were now more complicated than before the UK joined the then European Economic Community in 1973. 

Nearing the end of an occasionally tetchy session, Mr Knight said he "felt sorry" for Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, for having to negotiate with Lord Frost. 

Lord Frost said he would have preferred to reach a deal for visa free travel with Brussels during last year’s Brexit negotiations, but that it was not possible given the manifesto promise to end freedom of movement. 

He said it was now up to UK diplomats and stars such as Sir Elton to lobby individual governments to relax their rules. 

The Cabinet Minister said: "The best way of improving the situation is to work with us to encourage other governments to change their current arrangements. 

"We’re not going to be able to go back to a situation where there was freedom of movement."

Sir Elton said on Tuesday that he didn’t "get anywhere" with Lord Frost in their meeting. 

Musicians can make short visits to 17 of the 27 EU member states, including France, Germany and the Netherlands. 

However, entertainment union Bectu has warned that red tape in those countries will increase costs and make some tours, especially by less established performers, no longer viable.