People in the arts are 'mostly left-wing, non-Tory voters', musician explains

25 June 2021, 11:39

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This James O'Brien caller explained why he thought the arts were struggling, and he summed it up as holding the government to account.

After Andrew Lloyd Webber told LBC the Government has made the theatre industry a "sacrificial lamb" amid renewed calls for the publication of the delayed live events report, one James O'Brien caller gave his views.

Exclusive: Lord Lloyd Webber tells LBC theatres have been made a 'sacrificial lamb'

"I'm a musician," the caller said as he opened his conversation with James as he revealed he runs open mic nights which he said were "one of the most valuable assets that live music has."

He told James the live music industry had been one of the ones hit the hardest due to Covid.

Explaining his main thoughts on why the arts were struggling the caller said most of the people who work in this industry are "left-wing, non-Tory voters."

Watch: Lord Lloyd Webber: No 10 doesn't rate culture and I’ve never met the PM

But also he pointed out that the industry has a "very tangible voice that can be heard," and often it is critical of the government of the day.

Watch In Full: Lord Lloyd Webber speaks to Nick Ferrari on LBC

Lord Lloyd-Webber is among figures from the theatre and music sectors, including musician Peter Gabriel, theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh and music industry trade body Live, who have launched legal action to force the Government to hand over the results from its coronavirus pilot events scheme.

The Events Research Programme ran test events at sporting, music and arts venues to assess the safety of large gatherings during the pandemic.

Event organisers had expected the findings of the report to be published last week, but the date was pushed back.

Last week Lord Lloyd-Webber rejected an offer from Prime Minister Boris Johnson for one of his West End shows, Cinderella, to be included in the pilot scheme for live events, meaning it could proceed with a higher capacity.

Speaking on LBC, he said he regretted sitting as a Conservative member of the House of Lords until his retirement in 2017.

He said: "I have never been a member of the Conservative party, although I did take the Tory whip in the House of Lords, and quite frankly now I regret it.

"If I had known that a Tory government would do this to the arts, I would have... You couldn't think forward like that."

Asked what he meant by "do this", Lord Lloyd Webber added: "Well, just not support."

Lord Lloyd-Webber said he does not know anyone in the current Government and is yet to meet the Prime Minister or the Chancellor.

He claimed he had a better relationship with former governments, saying Sir John Major and Baroness Thatcher had a "real interest in the arts".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed earlier this month that July 19 is the new date that has been earmarked for the lifting of the remaining coronavirus restrictions.