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'Save our pantos', Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP Jamie Stone pleads to UK government and Chanceller Rishi Sunak, after attending a protest in Westminster's Parliament Square over lack of financial support for arts during Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic


By Philip Murray

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MP Jamie Stone with some fo the protesting panto dames in Parliament Square.
MP Jamie Stone with some fo the protesting panto dames in Parliament Square.

'SAVE our pantos', a Ross MP has pleaded with the UK chancellor after joining a protest highlighting the lack of Covid-19 lockdown support for the arts and entertainments.

Today Jamie Stone, the MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, attended the Panto Dame Rally in Parliament Square. Organised by Equity, Bectu, #WeMakeEvents, and ExcludedUK, the event sought to raise awareness about the lack of panto this year and the wider damage the theatre and live events industry are suffering.

As chairman of the Gaps in Support APPG in the Commons, Mr. Stone commented: “I was absolutely delighted to join the Panto rally today – not least because I have appeared in amateur panto productions in the past as both a ‘baddie’ and a ‘dame’!

"While the demo was one of the most colourful and amusing that I’ve seen in my three years as an MP, the point behind it is serious and worrying.

"Many workers in the theatre and the wider entertainment business have been missed out when the government came to giving financial support during the Covid pandemic. Including all other sectors of our workforce in the UK, it’s reckoned that over three million people are caught in this terrible trap.

"The panto rally’s message was very clear – [UK Chancellor] Rishi Sunak, please hear our plea, and please, please extend the helping hand which we so desperately need.”

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