24 fines have been issued following an investigation in the unsuccessful candidate’s gathering in December 2020 reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter
Police have made referrals for 24 fines for breaches of Covid rules at an event known as the ‘Shaun Bailey for London Holiday Party’.
The event on 14 December 2020 at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) was held by the campaign team of Shaun Bailey, the party’s unsuccessful 2021 candidate for London mayor.
Lord Bailey, a member of the London Assembly 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 Johnson’s honours list – attended the gathering at Matthew Parker Street.
The investigation into the party was reopened in July this year after a video clip published by the Daily Mirror showed staff appearing to dance, drink and joke about Covid restrictions.
The BBC also published an invitation, revealing the event was described as the ‘Shaun Bailey for London Holiday Party’, at which guests were encouraged to ‘jingle and mingle’.
At the time, London was under Tier 2 Covid restrictions, which banned indoor social gatherings.
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.”
The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the Conservative Party to confirm whether Lord Bailey was one of those who was fined, and whether he would like to make a statement.
A spokesman for the party responded: “Senior CCHQ staff became aware of an unauthorised social gathering in the basement of Matthew Parker Street organised by the Bailey campaign on the evening of 14th December 2020.
“Formal disciplinary action was taken against the four CCHQ staff who were seconded to the Bailey campaign.”
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 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.