- A recently leaked photo shows 24 conservative political activists and staff at a Christmas party.
- The event was on December 14, 2020, when Londoners were not allowed to mix households in gatherings.
Several Conservative UK political staff and a township councilor deleted their social media profiles after appearing in a leaked photo of a Christmas party held last year that violated the country’s COVID-19 rules.
The photo, allegedly taken at the Conservative campaign headquarters in London on December 14, 2020, was first published by The Mirror on Wednesday and shows about two dozen people gathered around a table full of canapes and what It appears to be a buffet.
According to the BBC, the event was organized by the staff of Shaun Bailey, who was running for mayor of London at the time.
Pandemic London restrictions last December prevented households from mingling, with the Official UK Government Twitter tell residents directly: “You should not have a Christmas lunch or Christmas party at work, where that is primarily a social activity and is not allowed by the rules of your level.”
After the photo leak, Bailey resigned as chairman of a police and crime committee in the London Assembly, according to the BBC. He remains on the committee and in the London Assembly.
“I want to unreservedly apologize for attending a meeting held by some of my staff at my campaign office last December.” tweeted on thursday.
“It was a grave error in judgment at a time when Londoners were making immense sacrifices to keep us all safe, and I regret it with all my heart,” he wrote. Bailey did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
—Politics for all (@PoliticsForAlI) December 14, 2021
The Guardian identified some political activists in the image, such as Adam Wildman, a Conservative councilor from the London Borough of Bexley whose Since then, the Twitter account has been deleted.
An online statement representing Conservative Bexley councilors said they were “shocked and very disappointed” by the party’s reports. “We understand that this event is currently being investigated, so we cannot comment further, but we can confirm that following our selection process earlier this year, Councilman Wildman made the decision not to run again to the Conservatives at the May 2022 elections, “said statement read.
Wildman did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Ben Mallet, Bailey’s campaign manager, was also identified by The Guardian as the man lying on the ground in the front of the photo holding up a glass of wine. His Twitter account was also removed. Mallet declined to respond personally and shared an apology for the campaign with The Guardian.
The outlet also reported that it contacted four unidentified junior campaign assistants and employees, three of whom deleted their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.
To Bailey’s right, in a gray jacket and a glass of wine, is billionaire Nick Candy, a luxury real estate developer and conservative donor. A spokesperson for Candy told The Mirror that the mogul was present for a “year-end review.”
“He gave a short thank you speech to the team and spent some time with Shaun Bailey to discuss campaign matters before leaving shortly after,” the spokesman said. Candy Capital, a private office that manages Candy’s interests, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The leaked photo comes amid pressure from the UK opposition for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign over jokes his staff made about an illegal Christmas party at his 10 Downing Street office last year. Another set of leaked images apparently shows Johnson submitting a Christmas quiz on December 15 that sources said was planned to be virtual, but that some staff members attended in person.
Johnson denied that COVID-19 rules were broken at the party. “What I can tell you is that all the guidelines were observed,” he said. “I am convinced that the guidelines were followed at all times.”