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Mayor's office: shutting fabric "would be like closing the Royal Albert Hall"

Emails reveal behind-the-scenes fight to save fabric as well as opinion of the Met Police

  • Words: Mark Wilding | Image: Nick Ensing
  • 12 January 2017

Figures close to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan believe that the Metropolitan Police’s Chief Licensing Officer was “convinced” that fabric should be shut down and that an undercover operation at the club had “an agenda” behind it. They also reckoned that losing the legendary venue “would be like closing the Royal Albert Hall”.

This has been revealed in emails between members of the Mayor of London's team and the Greater London Authority (GLA) obtained by Mixmag under the Freedom of Information act. The previously unseen emails – sent between August 17 and September 8 – also show how concerned the members were about fabric’s future and the attempts they and Khan made to save the club.

When news first broke that the Metropolitan Police was seeking a review of the club’s licence, GLA Head of Music Paul Broadhurst emailed colleagues to report his discussions with fabric: "The club say that Met and Islington haven't supported them in dealing with the deaths, both of which were tragic incidents that the club took very seriously, but ultimately were beyond their control - the club having some of the most robust security procedures and support in place for clubbers."

A few days later, Deputy Mayor for Culture Justine Simons raised her own concerns. She emailed Broadhurst: “Are we OK on fabric?” Broadhurst replied to say that the Met’s Ian Graham, “is convinced that fabric needs to lose its licence and he has told this to fabric and Islington”. He added that the Met’s decision to use the codename ‘Lenor’, a reference to the fabric softener, for an undercover operation at the club made it look like “the police went in with an agenda”.

Unsurprisingly, Simons was not reassured. In response, she emailed Broadhurst: “Should we be trying to flush out this independent action by [the] Met”, adding: “If it closes it will be a massive blow, for the club as well as us, having made such a big deal about the importance of our nightlife.”

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