Clamp-down on Soho clip joints

Westminster City Council is calling on MPs to approve its legal bid to curb the growth of “clip joints” on the streets of Soho.

The authority made a fresh plea for support after three policemen were stabbed following a row which broke out when a customer objected to a £190 bar bill last month.

Licensing chiefs say the incident demonstrates the problems caused by the bars, which charge customers excessive prices for drinks served by scantily-dressed “hostesses”.

Westminster is pushing a Bill through Parliament which will try to control their growth by introducing a licensing scheme. The London Local Authorities Bill is now awaiting its third reading in the Commons.

Councillor John Bull, chair of the licensing sub-committee, says: “This is yet another incident in the long chapter of problems at clip joints, where people are being routinely ripped off.

“I appeal to Parliament to pass the Bill as a matter of urgency, so that hostess bars can be properly regulated.”

About 12 of the bars operate in Soho. They escape licensing controls because they do not sell alcoholic drinks or offer entertainments.