COVID fines to be issued over lockdown-busting 'jingle and mingle' party at Tory HQ

By John Mercury October 14, 2023

Police say 24 fines will be issued over COVID rule breaches at Conservative campaign headquarters.

Several people were filmed dancing at a party organised by Shaun Bailey’s London mayoral campaign team on 14 December 2020.

The event was billed as “jingle and mingle” on an invitation.

Lord Bailey stepped down from his role in the London Assembly after a photo emerged of him joining others at the party.

He subsequently apologised, calling it a “serious error of judgement”, and was later made a peer in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours.

Tory aide Ben Mallett was also at the gathering – and was later given an OBE by Mr Johnson.

At the time, London was under Tier 2 rules that meant people couldn’t socialise indoors with people from a different household.

The day the party took place it was announced London would be moving to stricter Tier 3 restrictions due to rising cases.

The Metropolitan Police said on Friday that it had made 24 referrals for fines to the Criminal Records Office for breaches of COVID regulations.

An investigation was reopened after the Daily Mirror released video from the party in June 2023.

In the clip, one man is heard asking, “Are you filming this?” – while another responds, “it’s for party, erm, party use”.

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Lord Bailey was bidding to replace Sadiq Khan as London mayor at the time, but he ended up losing 55.2% to 44.8%.

A second investigation into a gathering in parliament on 8 December 2020 is continuing, the Met said.

It relates to a birthday party held for Baroness Jenkin – wife of senior Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin.

Boris Johnson previously accused him of “monstrous hypocrisy” for allegedly going to the event and later being part of the panel that found he’d lied over partygate.

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