Roger Daltrey ‘disappointed’ by lack of progress after Brexit: ‘We haven’t made the most of it’

Roger Daltrey has said he feels “very disappointed” with the lack of progress he feels the UK has made after Brexit.

The Who musician was one of the most prominent and vocal supporters of Brexit in the build-up to the EU referendum in 2016.

In a new interview with The Independent, the 78-year-old stuck by his view that the European Union’s power is “too divorced from everyday people”, and said he wasn’t sorry for voting Leave.

“I’m disappointed we haven’t made the most of it – I’m really disappointed that we haven’t burned an awful lot of useless regulation,” he said.

“I just put in planning permission for a building on the farm and just to get the planning in its cost me something like £40,000. It’s f***ing ridiculous. Who the bloody hell’s got that?”

When it was pointed out to him that many regulations aren’t “forced” on the UK by the EU, Daltrey insisted “a lot of them are” and repeated his belief that the government hasn’t “made the most” of Brexit.

“Would I vote to go back in it? No,” he said. “Am I sorry we came out of it? No… it’s a cartel, mate, it’s like being governed by FIFA.”

Daltrey also complained about the difficulties currently facing musicians who wish to tour around Europe, as they face costly delays caused by red tape and the ongoing lorry queues at Dover.

“They’re making life hard for us, I don’t disagree,” he said. “It doesn’t need to be. One truck goes into Europe full of equipment with a carnet, it’s not hard to get visas, is it? It shouldn’t be. We used to do it regularly in the Sixties and Seventies.”

He continued: “There’s no cooperation. They were always going to punish us; they’re determined to make it not work because they’re fearful of other countries leaving. Let’s see.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Daltrey previously made headlines in 2019 after snapping at a journalist who asked for his opinion on how Brexit would affect the UK music industry.

“What’s it got to do with the rock business?” he asked at the time.

When the journalist asked, “How are you going to tour in Europe?” Daltrey snapped back: “Oh dear. As if we didn’t tour Europe before the f***ing EU. Oh, give it up!”

In 2021, he then defended himself against hypocrisy allegations after becoming one of over 100 musicians – along with Elton John, Ed Sheeran and Liam Gallagher – calling on the government to resolve the freedom of movement issue for British artists.

“I have not changed my opinion on the EU,” Daltrey said in a statement. “I’m glad to be free of Brussels, not Europe. 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.”

In his interview with The Independent, Daltrey also discussed his memories of The Who, his 2018 memoir, forthcoming projects, his views on Partygate, and why The Who are unlikely to make a new album.

Read the full feature here.