Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Diana Johnson MP, how local is ‘local’?

I would like to thank Brute for writing this article and his work in getting the FoI.

Some readers of this blog may be aware that Diana Johnson, MP for Kingston-upon-Hull North, made a speech to the House of Commons on the 28th of January, outlining a Private Member’s Bill which proposed making the adoption of Sexual Entertainment Licences (SEVs) mandatory for all local authorities with regard to striptease venues.

As part of her speech to the House, Johnson quoted three letters which she said she had received from ‘local residents’. I was unaware of there being any striptease venues within the Kingston upon Hull North constituency, and some of the content of these letters seemed strangely familiar to me, so I decided to investigate matters further by sending a Freedom of Information Request to Kingston upon Hull City Council the following is their reply:

"Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request - 000304/14

With regard to your Freedom of Information request received on 7 February 2014, please find our response below.

'I am making an enquiry under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, and I would grateful if you would provide me the following information:-

• Details of premises within the city currently licenced for striptease (either under the Police and Crime Act 2009, or the Licensing Act 2003);

• Details of any premises which were licenced for striptease (under the Licensing Act 2003) over the last ten years, i.e. from February 2004;

• Records of any official complaints made against the above premises, either to Kingston-upon-Hull City Council or Humberside Police.'

The only two premises that have been licensed for striptease are Fantasy Bar (now the Honey Trap) and Purple Door.  There have been no official complaints made against either of these premises.

We hope that you will be satisfied with our response and should you require any further information then please do not hesitate to contact us."

The Honey Trap and the Purple Door are both clubs in the city centre of Hull, which comes under the neighbouring constituency of Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle.

Johnson’s Bill is due for a second reading before Parliament this coming Friday, the 28th of February; thankfully, it has little-to-no chance of becoming law. However, the content of the above speech has sparked off a few questions for her in my mind, starting with: is a ‘local resident’ the same thing as a constituent; and if not, what constitutes ‘local’ in this context?

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