Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has called the UK government "spineless" after it failed to reach agreement on visa-free EU travel for musicians post-Brexit.

Tim Burgess, frontman with The Charlatans, also joined a chorus of anger at Boris Johnson's administration, accusing leaders of "treating artists with... contempt".

However, a UK government spokesman insisted the European Union was to blame for the failure to reach an agreement about visa arrangements for UK artists.

Louis Tomlinson

He claimed that Britain had tried to secure visa-free travel for touring musicians as part of an "ambitious agreement on temporary movement of business travellers", but Brussels rejected it.

London dismissed the EU's counter offer of a visa exemption for performers visiting any of its 27 countries for less than 90 days, according to the Independent newspaper, citing Brussels sources.

One Direction's Louis Tomlinson and former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating urged fans to support a campaign calling for a "free cultural work permit", with an online petition collecting almost 250,000 signatures.

The visa would give free travel throughout the EU for bands, musicians, artists, TV and sports celebrities.

Tim Burgess

Horace Trubridge, general secretary of the Musicians' Union (MU), said Britain's rejection of the EU's offer was "nigh-on unbelievable".

"With the British music business having been devastated by Covid-19 and with no end in sight to the black hole of cancelled concerts, tours, festivals and regular gigs..., the news, if true...is nigh-on unbelievable," he added.

Last week, organisers of British music festivals said the pandemic had devastated the industry and warned events could disappear for good without more government support.

Cabinet Office minister Nicholas True has said talks with Brussels over visa-free travel for artists were "unlikely" to resume in the near future.