‘London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé should not be allowed to hide from scrutiny’

“Night Tzar” Amy Lamé (Photograph: London Assembly)

‘Night Czar’ Amy Lamé (Photograph: London Assembly)

Amy Lamé, the controversial ‘Night Czar’ appointed by Sadiq Khan, is facing calls she be grilled by a scrutiny committee following a row over her “offensive” tweets and seemingly bizarre tax arrangements.

Shaun Bailey, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, wrote to Economy Committee chair Fiona Twycross (Labour) asking her to call Lamé to give evidence about what exactly she plans to do in her £35,000 per annum part-time job.

In the letter, seen by London Citizen, he wrote: “The role of Night Czar has the potential to be transformational for London, and therefore it is fundamentally important that the first person to hold that role has the chance to explain to the London Assembly her ‘plans’ at the earliest opportunity.

“This will also give Ms Lamé a chance to address members’ concerns and prove to us that she will be capable of representing all Londoners.”

It was right, he said, that Lamé should be brought before the committee to face scrutiny “in the same way her fellow senior aides do”.

Mayor Khan has already said he does not condone comments made by Lamé on Twitter in which she called George Osborne a “c***” and talked about “bitch-slapping” David Cameron, whom she also accused of using his dead child as a political “pawn”.

The American-born comedy performer and broadcaster, who runs well known club night Duckie, also tweeted in celebration of the death of Margaret Thatcher and expressed apparent sadness that the Queen was still alive.

Lamé is paid as a consultant working two-and-a-half days a week through her personal services company, which last year paid no income tax, rather than as an employee of City Hall through the “pay as you earn” tax system.

She raised money for Khan’s election campaign, but critics say her political bias and evident dislike of Conservatives may cause problems for her working with Westminster City Council, in whose jurisdiction the biggest night time economy – the West End – is located.

Questions about her appointment are already due to be asked by members of City Hall’s oversight committee this week.

A report to the committee by Mark Roberts, the director of the secretariat at City Hall, has noted that Lamé’s job description is “slightly at odds” with that which was laid out when the post of Night Czar was originally approved.

Originally it was envisaged that the role would involve chairing the Night Time Commission and helping to create a vision allowing London’s nightlife to thrive.

But now these roles have now been split in two, raising questions about efficiency and possible duplication of roles.

Roberts’ report also states: “Furthermore the original job description states that the role of Night Czar will be an office holder post, but the Mayor’s staffing structure designates Ms Lamé as an Ambassador.”

Sadiq Khan has insisted Lamé is the right person for the Night Czar job, and his spokesman said the application process was “open and rigorous”.

After her appointment was announced earlier this month, Lamé said: “I can’t wait to hit the streets and have loads of ideas of what I can do for revellers, night-time workers, businesses and stakeholders. For too long, the capital’s night-time industry has been under pressure – music venues and nightclubs in particular are closing at an alarming rate.

“With the advent of the Night Tube, and the mayor’s commitment to protect iconic venues across the city, I’m confident that I can inspire a positive change in the way people think about the night time economy. I look forward to bringing together local authorities, the police, Transport for London and many other people from across the night time industries to transform London into a truly 24-hour city.”

City Hall says she will be holding regular “Night Surgeries” which members of the public can attend. London Citizen has asked the Mayor of London’s press office when the schedule will be published and is awaiting a reply.

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