Lapdancing: time for a change in the law

My earlier post about Islington Conservatives choosing a wannabe lap dancing venue for their Christmas party has attracted a bit of attention.

It’s still not clear if the Tories didn’t know about La Piragua’s lapdancing license application – currently withdrawn – or if they just don’t care. After all, while many people find lapdancing sleazy and degrading to all concerned, some Tories are keen to defend it. Time for the local Conservatives to come clean on where they stand…..

I’d like local councils to have freedom to decide whether their communities want lap dancing venues at all, and if so, where. At the moment, that’s just not the case. In Islington we’ve been calling for changes in the law after an application for lap dancing in a residential neighbourhood near Archway revealed how limited council powers are. It’s almost impossible to stop pubs or bars becoming “sex encounter establishments” if they already have a license to serve alcohol.

Islington isn’t the only place affected. This morning I was on the phone with Stephen Gilbert, down in Cornwall, where he’s been campaigning for councils to have more powers to control the lapdancing clubs springing up in Newquay.

It remains to be seen what measures will be in today’s Queen’s Speech.

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5 Comments »

  1. Anonymous said

    “Liberals” who want to forbid business based on mutual consent…

  2. David said

    Except that this whole post is untrue. The restaurant had already withdrawn the application when you wrote the first post, and I suspect you already knew that.

    What makes it even worse is that actually councils can do something to stop these applications. Otherwise how do you think the Archway Tavern application was stopped? It certainly wasn’t because of your Lib Dem colleagues, who went straight to the local papers saying how it couldn’t be stopped.

    However, the task wasn’t made any easier by your Councillors George Allen and Marisha Ray, who voted against a proposal to toughen the council’s licensing policy last year. It was only the votes of labour councillors together with a back bench rebellion that managed to get the changes made.

    I just hope your readers realise that almost all of this blog is based on half-truths and fabrications.

  3. bridgetfox said

    Thank you for your comments, but no half-truths or fabrications here.

    Fact: La Piragua did apply for and then withdraw an application to be a lap dancing venue.
    Fact: La Piragua is owned by a former Conservative candidate and the Islington Conservatives are having their Christmas do there.
    Fact: Lib Dems want stronger powers for local councils to decide on licensing matters (see links in the above post).

    Anyone who thinks Cllr George Allan (note correct spelling) is soft on licensing should read this: http://www.thecnj.co.uk/islington/2008/112108/inews112108_05.html

  4. Bridget the facts are on the Islington Tribune

    It was all a mistake says man at centre
    of lapdance storm

    Restaurateur’s bid for ‘erotic’ – instead of ‘exotic’ –
    salsa nights sparks angry protests

    RESTAURATEUR Rob­erto Zuluaga just wanted his customers to be able to samba the night away.
    But an error on his licensing application form plunged the owner of La Piragua restaurant in Upper Street, Islington, into a lapdance row.
    By mistake, Mr Zuluaga’s application stated he wanted to host “erotic” dancing at the family restaurant, directly across the road from the Town Hall.
    This brought angry phone calls from neighbours and a scolding from female customers. Newspaper columnist Nick Cohen was so incensed he featured the row in the Evening Standard and police turned up to demand an explanation.
    On her internet blog, Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate Bridget Fox accused Islington Tories of holding their Christmas party at a wannabe lapdancing club.
    La Piragua has a late licence at weekends but customers are not allowed to dance. Mr Zuluaga wanted the Town Hall to approve dancing and salsa and samba shows.
    The Colombian restaurateur asked an agent – with better English than him – to help with the application form. He said: “I’ve been here 17 years. This is a family restaurant. I applied for a licence so customers can dance and we can do some salsa, samba, Latin American shows, which are quite sexy.
    “They dress quite sexily so we were looking for a word to describe these things. My agent decided to use the word ‘exotic’. But she wrote ‘erotic’.”
    He added: “A lot of people complained. I had a lot of phone calls. My neighbours were upset, every woman customer was upset.
    “Police and licensing officers asked me to explain what I meant. I had to write a letter saying I never meant to have a strip club or lapdancing.”
    Mr Zuluaga is worried about the impact the row will have on trade. He said: “South American people don’t want to come here if they can’t dance. But this is not the place for lapdancing. You need a different setting.”
    He still hopes to be given permission for dancing and salsa shows.
    Islington Conservatives chairman Duncan Webster said: “We are disappointed Bridget Fox chose to chastise us for having a Christmas party at La Piragua based on hearsay.
    “When we heard about this issue we contacted the restaurant and they confirmed they had mistakenly made an application for late-night entertainment, and that had potentially included erotic dancing.”

  5. Anonymous said

    “Fact: La Piragua is owned by a former Conservative candidate and the Islington Conservatives are having their Christmas do there.”

    So does this mean, that if the place was owned by a Liberal Democrats, you wouldn’t support a law forbidding lap dancing venues?

    I also don’t understand, why you want any authorities, local or national, to have more powers to forbid activities, which should be based on infividual decisions. After all, nobody forces you to go to a lap dancing venue.

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