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18th Jun 2023

New footage shows Tories joking about ‘bending the rules’ at lockdown Christmas party

Steve Hopkins

By Steve Hopkins

There have been calls for UK police to again look at pressing charges.

A new video showing Tory workers at a Christmas party during lockdown in 2020 is “completely out of order”, Conservative Party member Michael Gove has admitted amid calls for police to again look at pressing charges.

The Mirror on Sunday revealed the unseen footage showing staff drinking and dancing in breach of lockdown rules.

Held at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters in London on 14 December, the party was attended by at least 24 revellers, the outlet reported, including two named on former UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.

In the clip shared by The Mirror, two dancers even twirl past a sign reading: “Please keep your distance,” while others joke about “bending the rules”.

The gathering included Shaun Bailey, who was running a campaign to be the mayor of London at the time, and Ben Mallet, the campaign director for the Tories’ 2021 mayoral election in the capital.

Bailey, who was recently given a peerage in Johnson’s resignation honours, is understood to have left before the video was taken. Mallet was given an OBE in the same honours list.

The Mirror previously released a photo from the party, which the Met investigated, but no further action was taken due to a lack of evidence.

Speaking on Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Gove labelled the party video “terrible” and said: “I just want to apologise to everyone really who, looking at that image, will think well these are people who are flouting the rules that were put in place to protect us all.”

He said the fact the party went ahead, while Britain was under strict lockdown rules, is “indefensible” and that he is “sure the people there feel contrite or I hope they do”.

The video comes as the Privileges Committee on Thursday found that Johnson had knowingly misled the UK Parliament over partygate.

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