MPs pressure Boris Johnson to support the arts during today's PMQs
Posted on 1 July 2020
Boris Johnson is under more intense pressure after MPs took advantage of today's Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) to slam him for failing to take up government responsibility to support the arts since the pandemic began.
MPs urge the Prime Minister to support sectors of the economy that are still unable to reopen due to fears for safety
One such MP, Nickie Aiken of the Tory party (Cities of London and Westminster), whose constituency takes in the capital's theatre district, has called for West End and UK theatres to be able to reopen "as soon as it is safe to do so."
ITV reported that Boris Johnson has made a statement about bringing UK theatre back to life as quickly and safely as possible.
The PM said: "The show must go on. I know the power of the theatres of London's West End and the entire Cultural Industry in London, not just as a magnet for our country but the sheer revenues they deliver. We want you going as fast as you possibly can and we want to get life for theatres and for theatregoers back to normal as fast as we possibly can."
Johnson then added: "But to do that, we have to defeat this disease and that is what this Government is engaged in."
An industry left in shambles
The lockdown has taken an unprecedented toll on the once-booming UK theatre industry. Many fear it could lead to irreparable damage. It was already announced that The Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, Mary Poppins, and Les Miserables would not be reopening this year.
But what's really in danger are all of the small theatres, fringe productions, and off-West End venues that rely heavily on charity and ticket sales to stay afloat. The government's lack of support could spell the end for many of them.
Recently, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden released a roadmap for reopening theatres, which many have criticised for being a roadmap that leads to nowhere. Without any specific dates or financial aid, it has been rendered relatively useless and an insult to those who are now struggling to survive.