The fairness of Amy Lamé’s appointment as London’s Night Czar is likely to come under renewed scrutiny after LBC revealed that she was invited to apply for the role by City Hall insiders.
Lamé’s “hiring” was announced by Mayor Sadiq Khan earlier this month in a press release which included a series of supportive quotes from leading stakeholders in London’s nighttime economy.
However it’s since emerged that Lamé is not directly employed by City Hall and is instead working on the Night Czar “project” as an outside consultant employed by her company, Amy Lamé Limited.
Mr Khan’s attempts to spin the award of a one-year consultancy contract to the firm as the direct “hiring” of a powerful ‘Czar’ with the power to help save threatened venues fell apart under questioning from this site.
Questions about the fairness of Lamé’s hiring had already been raised after it emerged she was a Labour supporter who had fundraised for Khan’s mayoral campaign.
In addition, some London Assembly members had privately expressed concern that a decision to remove responsibility for chairing the mayor’s Night Time Commission, which brings together council chiefs, transport bosses and senior police officers to inform policymaking affecting the night time economy, from the Night Czar risked giving the impression that the post had been tailored to fit a specific applicant.
City Hall has always insisted that the process was “open, robust and transparent.”
However LBC’s political editor, Theo Usherwood, has now learnt that Lamé was invited by City Hall to apply for the post, raising fresh questions about whether all applicants were treated equally.
Lamé’s supposed “hiring” had already proven controversial after tweets in which she accused former Prime Minister David Cameron of seeking to use the death of his son for political gain were reported by the media. She also appeared to celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher and lament the fact that the Queen was still alive.
Questioned by London Assembly members last week, Mr Khan distanced himself from such comments, which he said he did not condone.
On Monday Mr Khan’s office attempted to spin Lamé into coverage of a deal to keep open the Fabric nightclub, which had been closed following the drug-related deaths of two teenagers this year.
Despite press releasing that Lamé had held “conversations” with the venue, local council and police, a City Hall spokesperson was unable to point any specific involvement in brokering the deal.
On Wednesday the London Assembly’s Oversight committee will quiz the Mayor’s officials about Lamé’s appointment after Mr Khan ducked questions at last week’s Mayor’s Question Time session.