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Koko Camden: Fire engulfs famous music venue

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Media captionOne third of the roof of Koko in Camden was on fire at one point, the London Fire Brigade says

One of London’s most famous music venues has been badly damaged in an overnight blaze.

The dome on the roof of Koko in Camden has been destroyed by fire, according to the London Fire Brigade.

Sixty firefighters helped fight the flames after the blaze broke out just before 21:00 GMT on Monday and no injuries have been reported.

The venue which began life as the Camden Theatre in 1900 has hosted stars including Madonna, Coldplay and Prince.

Station commander Jon Lewis said the fire was brought under control at about 02:30 on Tuesday, adding: “Firefighters’ quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building.”

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Madonna performing at Koko in 2005

Koko owner Olly Bengough said he was “deeply saddened” by the blaze, adding: “We’ll be doing our best to get the redevelopment of this iconic building back on track.”

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The fire in the building’s roof was brought under control in the early hours of Tuesday

Crews will remain at the scene throughout the day and have warned people to stay away from the area.

Koko which was closed for refurbishment, was also previously known as the Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome and has been one of the capital’s most iconic live music venues for decades.

The Rolling Stones, The Clash and Ed Sheeran are among other star names to have performed at the venue, which is close to Mornington Crescent underground station.

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Oliver Cooper

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About 60 firefighters helped tackle a fire at Koko in Camden High Street

It was reportedly the last venue where AC/DC’s Bon Scott was seen drinking before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1980.

In the early 80s it served as a major venue for the punk and New Romantic scene, with singer Steve Strange of the band Visage holding club nights.

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Opening night at Camden Palace 1981 with Steve Strange (left)

Members of the public have been sharing their Koko memories on Twitter.

Marc Rustic was “absolutely gutted” having seen his first grime gig at Koko.

“MoStack was performing and it was honestly the best night of my life,” he added.

Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn who held his legendary soul nights Shakatak also tweeted about the fire.

Koko and the nearby Roundhouse effectively “bookended” Camden’s music scene, according to music writer Carl Allen.

In between the two are 60 music venues including the Dingwalls and Electric Ballroom, as well as restaurants and pubs.

On Twitter the Roundhouse said it was “really sad” to hear the news about our Camden neighbours.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Heartbreaking watching the Camden Palace/Koko up in flames this evening, a building that holds so many memories and means so much to us in Camden.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thanked the fire brigade for its quick response.

The venue was set to reopen in the spring after a “major state-of-the-art” refurbishment, after the purchase of two adjacent buildings.

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The venue hosted the BBC’s Electric Proms in 2007

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Koko has hosted some of music’s biggest names including Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Prince


Do you have memories of attending gigs at Koko? Share your experiences by emailing .

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Cambridge and UCL professor ‘did not notice’ double salaries

Professor Akhilesh Reddy

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Prof Akhilesh Reddy said he was unaware he was being paid two salaries

A professor specialising in human “body-clocks” had been suspended from medical practice after receiving full-time salaries from two universities.

Prof Akhilesh Reddy, a medical doctor, was paid by University College London (UCL) and the University of Cambridge.

He made a £50,000 mortgage repayment, saying he thought the extra money was a salary “overlap”.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal suspended him from the medical register for misconduct.

In December 2016, UCL became aware Prof Reddy may have two salaries and raised concerns with the University of Cambridge.

The neurologist and researcher gave inconsistent statements about the money, claiming he only noticed the salary issue when he checked his account in February 2016, five months after starting at UCL, the tribunal heard.

‘Financially aware’

He said he thought the universities were “sharing his salary”, that there was an “overlap” in his salaries and also that he thought the large sum was just his salary from UCL.

However, the tribunal dismissed his claims, saying he was a “financially aware man”, as shown by his making the £50,000 repayment in February 2016 and his negotiation of a UCL salary nearly double that of his Cambridge one.

In a statement read to the tribunal, Prof Reddy said he thought “all necessary people were fully aware of the position.”

Prof Reddy has moved to Pennsylvania to continue his research following the allegations.

He has since repaid the “large amount of money” and the tribunal said he had showed remorse for his actions.

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Prof Reddy was accepted a job at UCL but kept taking a salary from Cambridge University

A UCL spokesman: “UCL immediately took action as soon as we became aware that Akhilesh Reddy was drawing two salaries and he is no longer employed by UCL.

“This was a unique set of circumstances that involved the complex transfer of an academic group who remained for a period of time at their previous university before moving to a laboratory separate from UCL’s campus.

“The behaviour of the individual involved fell seriously below the standards of behaviour we expect from members of UCL’s academic community.”

A University of Cambridge spokesman said it was “profoundly disappointed” by Prof Reddy’s actions.

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Croydon stabbing: Man, 60, found injured in street dies

Woodcroft Road

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The victim was found suffering from stab wounds outside a property in Woodcroft Road

A 60-year-old man has been stabbed to death in a residential street in south London.

Police and ambulance crews were called to reports of a stabbing in Woodcroft Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon, at 21:30 GMT on Monday.

The victim was found outside a property with knife injuries and was pronounced dead at 21:49, the Met Police said.

A 50-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and taken into custody.

The suspect became unwell while in custody and was transferred to hospital where he is in a stable condition, police said.

Det Ch Insp Simon Harding said: “The victim was found injured in a residential street. While it is not a heavy footfall location, there may have been members of the public travelling through Woodcroft Road who saw something.

“I urge those people to come forward and speak to my officers without delay.

“No matter how insignificant you think it may be please do make the call.

“We are building the sequence of events leading up to and immediately following this attack which has led to a man’s death, your call could complete the picture.”

Inquiries into the circumstances continue.

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Ellie Goulding helps driver ‘T-boned’ by Royal Mail truck

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Media captionEllie Goulding and her driver rushed to help after a car was hit by a Royal Mail truck

Singer Ellie Goulding came to the aid of a driver whose car was being pushed sideways along a road by a lorry.

Footage shows a Volkswagen GTi being pushed down Western Avenue, A40, by a Royal Mail delivery lorry near the Greenford roundabout in west London.

Goulding posted on Instagram to criticise other drivers who got out to film the crash and “shout abuse” at the lorry driver.

The Royal Mail says it is investigating the crash.

The truck driver appears astonished to see the car in front of his vehicle, claiming he did not see it, or know it was there.

He can be heard yelling: “I didn’t see him, I honestly didn’t see him.”

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Ellie Goulding said her driver, Guy, stopped to help while she checked on the driver of the car

Goulding told her 14.4 million Instagram followers: “On a side note, I can’t believe the first instinct of the other drivers who got out was to instantly start filming on their phones and shout abuse at the poor shocked driver, not even checking the other driver was okay.

“What on earth.”

Goulding told BBC Radio 1 she intervened because “no-one was stopping”.

She said: “I think people were desperate to get to work. All these people were just driving on.

“We just drove up right next to it [the lorry] to be like ‘Mate, you’ve got a car on you!'”

The driver who was dragged along the road later messaged the singer “to just say he was OK,” she added.

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The driver of the Royal Mail delivery truck cab said he did not realise the car was there

The Met Police said there were no reported injuries and no arrests have been made.

A Royal Mail spokesman added: “We are very concerned about this incident. We sincerely hope that no one was hurt. We are investigating as a matter of urgency.”

Road safety campaigner Rebecca Ashton told the Victoria Derbyshire programme she hoped it was not a stunt.

She said: “He must have been able to hear the scraping of the tyres – possibly a feeling of pushing a car.”

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West Ham 1-3 Arsenal: Gunners gain first win under Freddie Ljungberg

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has now scored 11 Premier League goals this season and 13 in all competitions

Arsenal came from behind to end their nine-match winless streak as Freddie Ljungberg enjoyed his first victory as interim manager at the expense of his former club West Ham.

Eighteen-year-old Gabriel Martinelli marked his full Premier League debut by side-footing an equaliser which cancelled out Angelo Ogbonna’s deflected first-half opener at London Stadium.

Within nine minutes, Nicolas Pepe had curled a magnificent second into the top corner and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired in a third.

The salvo turned the game on its head and piled the pressure on West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini, whose side have taken four points from their past nine league games and conceded three times in three successive home games.

The Hammers remain a point above the relegation zone in 16th and face a trip to third-bottom Southampton on Saturday. Arsenal move up two places to ninth.

West Ham 1-3 Arsenal: Gunners ‘worked their socks off’ for win – Freddie Ljungberg

Arsenal recover from dismal start

Arsenal’s victory was all the more remarkable because until Martinelli added to the seven goals he has scored in cup competitions this season, the visitors had been utterly woeful.

Club officials had spoken before kick-off about the improved atmosphere triggered by Ljungberg’s appointment as Unai Emery’s replacement but it appeared this game would end in frustration, just as the previous two had done under the Swede.

The visitors were bereft of confidence and mild boos from the travelling support accompanied the end of a first half in which their side failed to have a shot on target and went behind when Ogbonna’s header bounced in off Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

True, they did not have much luck. Hector Bellerin was injured in the warm-up and when Kieran Tierney was helped off in obvious pain with a shoulder injury sustained in a seemingly innocuous tangle with Michail Antonio, Ljungberg had lost both his first-choice full-backs in the space of half an hour.

Nevertheless, it was pitiful stuff and when Aubameyang surged down the right wing and sent over a cross that flew over everyone and straight out for a throw-in on the other side of the pitch, it was symptomatic of a club apparently heading nowhere fast.

West Ham 1-3 Arsenal: Manuel Pellegrini rues Hammers defensive mistakes

‘Nerveless’ Martinelli rewards Ljungberg’s faith

It was 1977 when Arsenal last went 10 matches without a win. With an away Europa League game against Standard Liege followed by a home encounter with Manchester City to come, at the interval it was not beyond the realms of possibility that the 12-game barren sequence from 1974 was going to be threatened.

With Alexandre Lacazette and David Luiz on the bench, it was two of Arsenal’s most inexperienced players who sparked the change in fortune.

Ljungberg had obviously seen enough of Martinelli in two substitute appearances to trust the Brazilian with his first league start. The reward was a nerveless finish when his side needed it most. Sead Kolasinac provided the cross but there was still a lot to do for the Brazilian, who steered a first-time effort into the corner.

Emery paid a club record £72m for Pepe in August. With one league goal all season, the Frenchman has not really lived up to his billing but his goal here, a curling shot into the right-hand corner of David Martin’s net, was perfect in its execution.

Aubameyang made certain of a win few would have anticipated 10 minutes earlier when his clinical finish took his tally for the season to 13. It disguised the fact he had been a virtual spectator for the first hour.

At the final whistle, Ljungberg ran to applaud the visiting fans, knowing he had given his own chances of replacing Emery a significant boost.

What now for the unhappy Hammers?

Angelo Ogbonna also scored in West Ham’s last home match – a 3-2 loss against Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham

When they beat Chelsea 1-0 nine days ago to end their own winless sequence, it appeared West Ham were on an upward curve.

The combination of boos and thousands of empty seats that accompanied the final whistle on Monday underlined the truth of the matter.

West Ham are perilously close to dropping into the relegation zone, something the club cannot countenance after moving to the 60,000-capacity London Stadium.

Even if Pellegrini survives this defeat, if West Ham lose again at Southampton on Saturday the calls for his dismissal will become piercingly loud.

This was the third home game running in which they had conceded three goals.

The Hammers were not particularly convincing when they were in front. Once they lost the advantage, the lack of confidence so clear in Arsenal’s play transferred to theirs.

Record signing Sebastien Haller was left on the bench and even when he was introduced 20 minutes from time, he made no noticeable impact.

Man of the match: Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)

At 18 years 174 days, Gabriel Martinelli is the youngest player to score for Arsenal on his first Premier League start for the club.

‘Like a Duracell battery’ – what they said

Arsenal interim boss Freddie Ljungberg told BBC Sport: “The players have belief and tried to move the ball with more tempo. West Ham got tired.

“The players ran their socks off and fought. I believe in them. When I could see them put their shift in, I could see the quality. I thought ‘it is here for the taking’.

“Martinelli did amazingly. He is like a Duracell battery, he keeps going. Laca [Alexandre Lacazette] is a tremendous player but I had to make a tough decision.”

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini told BBC Sport: “For 60 minutes there was just one team on the pitch. But football can be like this.

“We made mistakes in moments of defending. The problem was a lack of patience and quality to decide the game with a second goal and we made important mistakes in defence.

“The pressure for me is exactly the same if we win or lose. When you don’t have results things are more difficult. If I had not seen the team play the way they did in the first 65 minutes, I might have doubts [about his ability to turn things around].

“After Southampton at the weekend we have a break. We must try to recover as quickly as we can and we must try to win those three points.”

Rare Arsenal recovery away from home – the stats

  • West Ham have lost three in a row at home in the Premier League for the first time since August 2015.
  • Arsenal came from a half-time losing position to win a Premier League away game for the first time since October 2011 (5-3 v Chelsea).
  • Gabriel Martinelli is Arsenal’s fourth-youngest scorer in the Premier League (18 years 174 days), after Cesc Fabregas, Serge Gnabry and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
  • Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been involved in 12 goals in his past 11 Premier League London derbies (nine goals, three assists).
  • Since his Premier League debut in February 2018, Aubameyang has scored 43 goals in the competition, a joint-high along with Jamie Vardy.

What’s next?

Arsenal conclude their Europa League group phase campaign at Standard Liege on Thursday (17:55 GMT), still needing a draw to be sure of qualification before entertaining Manchester City at Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday (16:30). West Ham visit Southampton on Saturday (17:30).



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Arsenal: Freddie Ljungberg should not get manager’s job on long-term basis – Chris Sutton

Freddie Ljungberg played 328 times for Arsenal in a nine-year spell at the club, helping them win the Premier League twice and the FA Cup three times

Freddie Ljungberg is not the right man to manage Arsenal on a long-term basis, said former Blackburn striker Chris Sutton.

Ex-Gunners midfielder Ljungberg, 42, is in interim charge of the club after they sacked Unai Emery last month.

“Freddie said he was 100% sure they would get into the top four but based on what? It’s fantasy,” said Sutton on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.

“They need to get someone in place that they are going to get a reaction from.”

Ljungberg, who played for Arsenal between 1998 and 2007, had been Emery’s assistant after working with their under-23 side but has no previous managerial experience.

In his only game in charge so far, the Gunners twice fell behind to a Norwich City side in the bottom three before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twice equalised in a 2-2 draw.

That result left Arsenal eighth in the Premier League, 21 points behind leaders Liverpool and seven behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Norwich 2-2 Arsenal: Freddie Ljungberg says first few days have been steep learning curve

“Did you expect them to be much different?” added Sutton, a Premier League title winner with Blackburn in 1994-95. “It has been the same for the last decade and it’s still the same problem.

“They need to change the model, the recruitment. Over the summer they brought in [winger] Nicolas Pepe [for £72m] but the issues were at the back.”

Former Aston Villa and Chelsea midfielder Andy Townsend agreed with Sutton and said: “I don’t think it’s the right time for Freddie to take over, not the right time for someone who is inexperienced at this level.

“Arsenal need someone to come in and teach them about defending.

“Calum Chambers has been around long enough to see if there’s been an improvement but there hasn’t been. I don’t think he’s good enough to be an Arsenal regular.

“Sokratis is nowhere near good enough. I don’t think he would get into any Premier League side.”

‘If you rely on Sokratis you will be changing manager every six months’

Arsenal have conceded 21 goals in 12 Premier League matches – no side in the top 12 has conceded more

Emery’s sacking by Arsenal came 10 days after Tottenham dismissed Mauricio Pochettino, although Spurs acted decisively by bringing in Jose Mourinho the next day.

“At Tottenham they sacked the manager, it was a bit harsh but the time had come, and they had a manager six hours later, that’s how Arsenal should’ve done it,” said former Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam.

“Whoever comes in, it’s a short-term fix and in January he will need two centre-halves but there’s no money.”

Townsend added: “Jose Mourinho, when he looked at the Spurs team and the players he was working with, he has Son Heung-min, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura and thought ‘we have half a chance’.

“With Arsenal you will think ‘I can win games with these players but I’ve got to sort out a team’. You will never stop Sokratis making mistakes. If you rely on him you will be changing manager every six months.”

Rodgers the ‘perfect fit’ for Arsenal – Adam

On Monday, Brendan Rodgers, manager of second-placed Leicester, dismissed speculation linking him with the Arsenal job, although on Sunday he had revealed there was a release clause in his Foxes contract.

“If Arsenal make the phone call and offer whatever that buy-out clause is, £15-£20m, that’s nothing to Arsenal. That sort of money they should find in a heartbeat,” added Townsend.

“They would spend it on a player and throw it away in 10 games. They spent £72m on Pepe and he does not get a game. To spend £25m on Brendan Rodgers, if he is the one they want then why wait?

“We’ve all enjoyed the Leicester story. It has been one of incredible highs and they are a great watch but they’re not on the same level globally as Arsenal are – to be back at Arsenal would be him back up among the elite.”

Why would I want to leave Leicester? – Brendan Rodgers

Adam described Rodgers as “the perfect fit” for Arsenal but doubted whether it would be the best decision from the former Liverpool and Celtic boss to leave Leicester for Arsenal.

“I don’t think it would be a good move for Rodgers,” said Adam. “At Leicester you have a new £100m training ground, four or five players at the top of their game – players like Youri Tielemans, Jamie Vardy, James Maddison.

“I would want my manager to say ‘I’m not interested in any other job’. If you don’t want to get it out there you don’t admit you have a buy-out clause. I think he wants the job.”

What about the other contenders?

Townsend believes Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, who won the Championship in 2017-18 and guided them to seventh in the Premier League last season, is the right man at Emirates Stadium.

“When I see the job he’s done at Wolves, getting them promoted, making them a seriously good team to watch, Nuno would be great,” said Townsend.

“He looks like a coach who wants to get into a player’s head and turn them around and some of the Arsenal players need that.”

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves are currently sixth in the Premier League and drew 1-1 away at Arsenal in November

Townsend also mentioned former Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez as another strong contender, but did not think Pochettino would move and join Tottenham’s fiercest rivals after more than five years in charge of Spurs.

“I wonder what the Arsenal fans would think of Benitez,” added Townsend. “He has been successful and managed at big clubs and has a history of trying to organise a team – and Arsenal need that.

“It’s too early for Mauricio Pochettino, he needs a breather instead of bouncing out of one job and into another.

“He was gone at the end. Have Christmas off at home and enjoy time with his family and friends. Pochettino can get a better job than Arsenal.”

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Uber loses licence to operate in London

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Media captionJamie Heywood, who manages Uber’s UK operation, says the firm will appeal

Uber will not be granted a new licence to operate in London after repeated safety failures, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

The regulator said the taxi app was not “fit and proper” as a licence holder, despite having made a number of positive changes to its operations.

Uber initially lost its licence in 2017 but was granted two extensions, the most recent of which expires on Monday.

The firm will appeal and can continue to operate during that process.

London is one of Uber’s top five markets globally and it has about 45,000 drivers in the city. Overall, there are 126,000 licensed private hire and black cabs in the capital.

If its appeal is unsuccessful, some think Uber drivers would move over to rival ride-sharing firms such as Bolt and Kapten.”There would be competition that would fill that void quite quickly,” Fiona Cincotta, a market analyst at City Index told the BBC.

Why won’t Uber get a new licence?

TfL said it had identified a “pattern of failures” in London that placed passenger safety at risk.

These included a change to Uber’s systems which allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts.

It meant there were at least 14,000 fraudulent trips in London in late 2018 and early 2019, TfL said.

The regulator also found dismissed or suspended drivers had been able to create Uber accounts and carry passengers. In one example, a driver was able to continue working for Uber, despite the fact his private hire licence had been revoked after he was cautioned for distributing indecent images of children.

Helen Chapman, director of licensing at TfL, said: “While we recognise Uber has made improvements, it is unacceptable that Uber has allowed passengers to get into minicabs with drivers who are potentially unlicensed and uninsured.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I know this decision may be unpopular with Uber users, but their safety is the paramount concern. Regulations are there to keep Londoners safe.”

‘I feel safe using Uber’

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Donna Stevens says her experiences of using Uber in London have “always been positive”.

In her job as a carer she often works late, so regularly uses the service. “The drivers are friendly, courteous and professional. I can’t afford to get a metered taxi.”

She says that if Uber were to go, she would probably have to go back to using public transport late at night, which does not make her feel safe.

However, another reader, Kay, says she would not be sad to see Uber go.

“I complained a couple of months ago about a driver who made me feel so uncomfortable I abandoned the ride and walked home in the dark at 11 o’clock at night instead of staying in his cab.”

She says Uber gave her a £5 credit but did not apologise. “How is it OK to employ drivers that make women feel unsafe?” she says.

Is this the end of Uber in London?

Uber lovers in London, fear not! The company’s cars will not suddenly disappear from the capital’s streets.

Uber is going to appeal against this decision so a magistrate will have to decide whether Uber is fit to hold a licence in London, or not.

A decision from a magistrates court could take weeks or months and unless the court decides otherwise, Uber will retain its licence during this period too.

When TfL decided not to renew Uber’s licence in 2017, the company addressed some of the issues raised by TfL back then and then a magistrate later granted Uber a new licence.

On the face of it TfL is standing tough against perceived failings by Uber. But in effect it is letting the courts decide, at a later date, whether Uber should have a licence, or not.

What does Uber say?

Uber said the decision was “extraordinary and wrong”. It said it had audited every driver in London over the past two months and strengthened its processes.

Boss Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted: “We understand we’re held to a high bar, as we should be. But this TfL decision is just wrong. Over the last 2 years we have fundamentally changed how we operate in London.”

According to Uber, 24% of its sales come from just five cities, including London. The others are Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and São Paulo in Brazil.

In a public filing, it said: “Any inability to operate in London, as well as the publicity concerning any such termination or non-renewal, would adversely affect our business, revenue, and operating results.

“We cannot predict whether the TfL decision, or future regulatory decisions or legislation in other jurisdictions, may embolden or encourage other authorities to take similar actions even where we are operating according to the terms of an existing licence or permit.”

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In May, hundreds of Uber drivers in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow staged a protest against the firm over pay and conditions

What do others say?

Business lobby group the CBI said customers valued Uber, and encouraged both sides to find a resolution.

But the Unite union – which believes Uber has unfairly taken business from black cab drivers – welcomed the news.

“Uber’s DNA is about driving down standards and creating a race to the bottom which is not in the best interests of professional drivers or customers,” said Jim Kelly, chair of Unite’s London and Eastern cab section.

Where else has banned Uber?

Uber has faced pressure from regulators around the world over the way it treats its drivers, competition concerns, and fears about passenger safety.

The US firm pulled out of Denmark in 2017 because of new taxi laws that required drivers to have fare meters and seat sensors.

Bulgaria and Hungary both stripped Uber’s right to operate following pressure from local taxi unions.

And in May, the ride-hailing firm pulled its UberXL service in Turkey without saying why.

What happened in London in 2017?

TfL first declined to renew Uber’s licence in September 2017, again over safety concerns. Back then it cited Uber’s approach to carrying out background checks on drivers and reporting serious criminal offences.

Uber’s use of secret software, called “Greyball”, which could be used to block regulators from monitoring the app, was another factor, although Uber said it had never been used in the UK.

However, TfL granted Uber a 15-month licence extension – later extended by two months – conditional on it making improvements to its business.

TfL can offer licences of up to five years, but it has been more stringent of late.

In July, Indian ride-hailing company Ola got a 15-month agreement for its entry into the London market, while ViaVan got a three-year licence renewal.


Would you be sad to see Uber go in London? Or would you just move on to another ride-hailing app? Share your reactions by emailing .

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Rape-accused Joseph McCann ‘caught on CCTV at hotel’

Joseph McCann

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CCTV images allegedly showed Joseph McCann at the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April

A man accused of rape was caught on camera at a hotel just before one of his alleged victims smashed him over the head and escaped, a court heard.

Joseph McCann went into the Phoenix Lodge Hotel in Watford on 25 April, leaving two women in a car outside, the Old Bailey was told.

He was allegedly captured on CCTV entering the hotel wearing a tracksuit and a baseball cap.

Mr McCann, 34, from Harrow, denies 37 offences against 11 victims.

After going into the hotel, he held the front door open and glanced repeatedly outside while rapping on the window of the reception desk to speak to staff, the court was told.

He then told his alleged captives to get out of the car and smile as he put his arms around them.

Instead, one of them, a 25-year-old woman, grabbed a bottle of vodka and hit him over the head with it before running for help, jurors heard.

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Joseph McCann is accused of 37 offences against 11 alleged victims, including children

The trial continues.

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Unai Emery: Arsenal manager given public backing but ‘things need to improve’

Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester leaves Arsenal sixth in the Premier League, eight points outside the top four

Unai Emery has been offered public backing by the Arsenal hierarchy, but warned results must improve.

Emery’s position is under scrutiny after a run of just two wins from their last 10 Premier League games.

However, Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham say they have no immediate plans to make a change of manager.

“We firmly believe Unai is the right man for the job,” they told Arsenal staff at a meeting.

“We are as disappointed as everyone else with both our results and performances at this stage of the season.

“We share the frustration with our fans, Unai, players and all our staff as they are not at the level we want or expect. Things need to improve to meet our objectives for the season.

“We are all working intensively behind the scenes to turn things around and are confident we will.

“We never take our fantastic support for granted. We hope we can all stick together and get behind the team in this challenging period, as together we are stronger.”

Xhaka ‘hurt’ by hostile criticism

Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka says he has been hurt by the “extreme hostility” directed towards him from the supporters, but has promised to prove his worth.

Xhaka, 27, was stripped of the club captaincy after being involved in an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 27 October.

The Switzerland midfielder has not played for the club since.

“It was very hurtful and frustrating,” Xhaka told Swiss newspaper Blick