Police to 'make contact' with two people over alleged Covid breaches after Tory Xmas party

16 December 2021, 18:24 | Updated: 16 December 2021, 21:29

Police said two people will be contacted over alleged Covid breaches
Police said two people will be contacted over alleged Covid breaches. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Police will speak to two people over "alleged breaches" of Covid regulations after revelations emerged that campaign staff held a party at the Conservative Party HQ.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The Metropolitan Police said it is aware one took place in Matthew Parker Street in London on 14 December last year, the same day ex-Tory Mayor of London candidate Shaun Bailey and his team were pictured celebrating.

A spokesperson said: "Officers will be making contact with two people who attended in relation to alleged breaches of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations."

The event in question is not the same as an alleged party at Downing Street, claimed to have taken place a few days later, which is being investigated by the Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case.

However, the Met said it still had no evidence Covid regulations were breached in events covered by Mr Case's investigation, including the alleged No10 do and at the Department for Education.

Read more: Boris Johnson visited staff enjoying a No10 lockdown 'party', new report claims

Read more: Education department admits 'we shouldn't have held staff party last December'

The spokesperson added they would investigate if Mr Case's inquiry passed on evidence of potential criminality.

"The Met has received a significant amount of material in relation to the allegations reported in the media," they said.

"All the material has been considered by detectives in detail and it does not provide evidence of a breach of the Health Protection Regulations, but restates allegations made in the media.

Read more: 'Game over': LBC listeners pile in on PM over No10 Christmas party footage

"In line with our policy where we do not normally investigate breaches of these regulations when they are reported long after they are said to have taken place, unless there is evidence from the Cabinet Office or other evidence comes to light, the Met will not at this time commence an investigation."

Matthew Parker Street is where the Conservative Campaign Headquarters is based.

The Mirror broke a photo of Mr Bailey and his campaign team gathered around at a Christmas party despite London being under Tier 2 Covid restrictions at the time.

Mr Bailey apologised over the event and quit his role on the London Assembly's police and crime committee.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has said he believes Covid rules have been followed in relation to allegations of a Downing Street party.

His Cop26 spokeswoman Allegra Stratton tearfully resigned after she was caught on camera joking about a party with staff.

The Prime Minister was also photographed popping up virtually during a Downing Street quiz in December last year.

And on Thursday, The Guardian reported he stopped by an event in the No10 garden during the first lockdown in May 2020, when staff were drinking, though he did not join in with consuming alcohol.

The Met spokesperson added: "Throughout the pandemic the Met has followed the national 4 Es approach of enforcing the Coronavirus Regulations.

"Where live ongoing breaches of the restrictions were identified, officers engaged with those present, explained the current restrictions, encouraged people to adhere to them, and only as a last resort moved to enforcement.

"In line with the Met's policy, officers do not normally investigate breaches of Coronavirus Regulations when they are reported long after they are said to have taken place.

"However, if significant evidence suggesting a breach of the regulations becomes available, officers may review and consider it."

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport (DfT) has apologised after it emerged staff had a party the day London was plunged into Tier 3 restrictions in December last year.

The Mirror reported senior civil servants were "boozing and dancing" at the event on 16 December, exactly a year ago.

Officials insisted it was a "low-key" gathering where social distancing was observed, and transport secretary Grant Shapps was not involved.

A DfT spokesman said: "The secretary of state wasn't involved in any gathering at the department.

"Fewer than a dozen staff who were working in the office had a low-key, socially distanced, gathering in the large open-plan office after work on 16 December, where food and drink was consumed.

"We recognise this was inappropriate and apologise for the error of judgment."