Sadiq Khan faces mounting pressure to remove Comedian from £80k taxpayer nightlife job | UK | News


Amy Lamé, 49, is responsible for promoting the capital’s nightlife to the UK and international audiences while overseeing the safeguarding of venues. But she has been accused of not “understanding the far-reaching implications of lockdown” and failing to be a “vocal, visible and powerful” advocate for the night-time economy.

The comedian and BBC Radio 6 presenter, who holds dual UK-US citizenship, has faced waves of criticism since her appointment as the city’s first Night Czar in 2016.

The role pays an annual salary of £83,169.

A government website states Lamé is “tasked with ensuring London is a 24-hour city”, putting into practice mayor Sadiq Khan’s ideas for later opening hours and safety.

Joe Haycocks, who created the petition, wrote: “Amy’s response to COVID-19 has been extremely disappointing, and has not inspired any confidence in why she receives a salary of £83,169.

“There has been very little press or media coverage featuring her, at a time that our Industry really needs vocal, visible and powerful leaders.

“Due to the lack of media attention and voice, it’s hard to see that she really understands the far-reaching implications of the lockdown in the wider music and arts scene surrounding nightlife; from festival promoters, agents, artists to the whole infrastructure supply chain.”

Mr Haycocks added the “petition is for the role to be abolished, or for Amy to be replaced with someone that will take a far more active role as a defender and supporter for nightlife”.

But he later described a “positive” telephone conversation with Lamé in a comment.

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“I have had a very positive phone call with Amy just now, who, as I had no doubt about, is definitely passionate about London’s nightlife – and who is keen to keep this conversation moving forward in order to help her to help us,” Mr Haycocks said.

Lamé described the latest backlash as “unpleasant” in an interview with The Observer, adding: “Different people have different ideas of [how to do] it, but I’ve got 25 years plus experience in running my own business, my own nightclub.

“My background is in advocating for venues: I helped save what is perhaps the most iconic LGBTQ+ venue in the country.”

In 2018, Lamé helped secure the future of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, where she also presented the club night Duckie.

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Lamé has no influence over the regulatory and licensing decisions that affect the city’s night culture.

Statistics show that London also lost more than half of its nightclubs and more than a third of its live music venues between 2007 and 2017.

This trend appeared to have been bucked – until the coronavirus crisis.

Over 40 cities around the world now have night mayors since Amsterdam pioneered the idea in 2014.

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