Thank you to all those who contacted me about the O2 Academy Brixton.
In December 2022, a critical incident occurred at the venue which resulted in two people tragically losing their lives. My deepest sympathies go to the families and friends of Gaby Hutchinson and Rebecca Ikumelo.
Following this, the Metropolitan Police, Lambeth Council and the Security Industry Authority each launched investigations into the incident. The police investigation is still underway.
In September 2023, a licensing hearing at Lambeth Council took the decision to reinstate the venue’s licence once it has met an extensive series of conditions designed to ensure safety.
The UK’s creative industries are hugely important, both to our economy and to our global reputation and success. Venues across the country are struggling, in particular community venues which are vital to fostering homegrown talent and to boosting the local economy. These much-loved cultural assets must be supported to continue providing joy and connection for people from all walks of life.
Moreover, I am worried about the Government’s lack of action over post-Brexit touring visas which has meant international artists are being disincentivised from performing in the UK. That is why I support an EU-wide agreement for touring musicians, including allowances for equipment and instrument transport as well as custom rules. Unless action is taken, I fear our international cultural reputation will be damaged.