Sir Elton John’s husband urges DCMS to champion value of British culture

Sir Elton John’s husband, David Furnish, has urged the UK Government to “really step up” to champion the value of British culture internationally.

The Canadian filmmaker, who has been married to Sir Elton since 2014, said emerging British artists and their crews needed to be allowed to tour “without bureaucracy and red tape”.

Furnish posted on Instagram following a discussion with the UK Trade and Business Commission about the arts and cultural sector.

“The message to the government was loud and clear,” he wrote.

“We need the DCMS to really step up, recognise and champion the financial and diplomatic value of British culture internationally, particularly when it’s become increasingly difficult within Europe.

“Emerging British artists and their crews must be allowed to tour without bureaucracy and red tape. It is good for us, good for our European neighbours and essential for the next generation of talent forging a career in music.”

Furnish highlighted that the number of British acts playing at European festivals had plummeted by 45% since Brexit, adding that “our future festival headliners need to be supported and protected”.

It comes after Sir Elton’s final North American tour shows late last year in Los Angeles, at which he was joined by Furnish and their children.

“This isn’t just an economic issue, our world-beating arts and culture is essential for our continued soft power and position in a changing world,” Furnish said.

“Nothing brings the world together like music, art and sport. Our government needs to step up and realise the real power, the diplomatic power and the unifying power of the arts.

“We’re only going to move this planet forward if we all pull together.”

Furnish and Sir Elton have been in a civil partnership since 2005, but formalised their marriage in 2014 after same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales.