Partygate: Fines to be issued over Covid-19 lockdown-busting Tory HQ party, says Met Police
Police have made referrals for 24 fines over a lockdown-busting party at Tory headquarters during the coronavirus pandemic. The fixed-penalty notices related to a “jingle and mingle” event in December 2020 at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) for activists on behalf of Shaun Bailey’s unsuccessful effort to be London mayor.
Lord Bailey, who received a peerage in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours, has previously apologised “unreservedly” for the event organised by his campaign team, and said it was a “serious error of judgment”.
Both Lord Bailey and Tory aide Ben Mallett – who became an OBE in Mr Johnson’s honours list – attended the gathering at Matthew Parker Street on December 14, 2020 – when Covid restrictions were in force.
The investigation into the party was reopened in July this year after a video clip published by the Mirror showed staff appearing to dance, drink and joke about Covid restrictions.
The BBC also published an invitation, revealing the event was called “jingle and mingle”. The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “Having assessed that new evidence, the Met has made 24 referrals for fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to the ACRO Criminal Records Office for breaches of Covid-19 regulations.”
Lord Bailey and the Conservative Party have been contacted for comment. The Met added that a second investigation into a gathering in Parliament on December 8 2020 continues.
The December 8 gathering, said to have been arranged by Commons Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, was cited by Mr Johnson in a scathing statement accusing Sir Bernard Jenkin of “monstrous hypocrisy” for allegedly attending the event before sitting on the cross-party panel which found the former prime minister had lied to MPs with his partygate denials.