While the rest of us gorged on chocolate fingers and binge-watched Bridgerton alone rather than take the train to be with our loved ones over Christmas, Tory activists were pulling crackers and dancing to the Pogues.
Some 30 people over at Conservative HQ were invited to the 14 December event, despite London being under Tier-2 Covid restrictions at the time – meaning no indoor socialising.
The BBC has even got hold of an invitation to the “jingle and mingle” party, which states that recipients should “save the date” for the “Shaun Bailey for London Holiday Party”.
Lest we forget, Bailey’s mayoral campaign ended in failure - and it's taken some two-and-a-half years for the extent of the shindig to come to light.
Over the weekend, the Mirrorpublished a video taken at the soirée in which a pair of colleagues can be seen joyfully dancing to ‘Fairytale of New York’ while another person can be heard saying it is OK to film "as long as we don't stream that we're, like, bending the rules."
\u201cWhilst we locked down and spent Christmas alone to protect our families and loved ones \n\nThe Tories were doing this. They broke the rules and put lives at risk\n\nEvery Tory MP that condones this behavior should be sacked!\n\n#ToriesOut #GTTO\n\nhttps://t.co/sKw8JXayzN\u201d
“Bending the rules” is a pretty generous way of putting it, as hoards of angry Twitter users have pointed out.
Here’s a look at some of the reaction to the latest twist in the partygate scandal:
\u201cHere\u2019s the invite to Shaun Bailey\u2019s Jingle and Mingle Monday December 14th 2020.\nThe Government advice at the time about work gatherings was \n\n\u201cWhilst participating in the gathering, the person does not\u2026 otherwise MINGLE with any person who is participating in the gathering.\u201d\u201d
\u201cCan't make jokes or see the funny side of 'Jingle and Mingle'. One of the worst christmases of my life. Things like this make me absolutely rabid, especially the 'fnarfnar, the British public don't actually care' attitude of the current government.\u201d
\u201cAn invitation to \u201cJINGLE and MINGLE\u201d for the Shaun Bailey campaign.\n\nEvery extra revelation in this disgraceful #PartyGate scandal just heaps more pain on to people covid bereaved or traumatised by working in the NHS looking after people with covid.\n\nWhat were they thinking?\u201d
\u201c\u2018Unless of course you want to call it a \u2018Jingle and Mingle\u2019 \u2026\u201d
— Simon Harris - Man Behaving Dadly (THAT\u2019S DADLY) (@Simon Harris - Man Behaving Dadly (THAT\u2019S DADLY))
For anyone wanting a reminder of Boris Johnson’s prime ministerial Christmas message that year, here’s what he said...
“At the end of this extraordinary year, I want to say something about the meaning of Christmas because I've never known a Christmas like it, not in my lifetime, and I bet not in yours either.
“And in most years, it's a moment for togetherness and celebration in which the generations are jumbled together in the same household for days on end, putting crackers, snogging under the missile toe, you name it. And yet this year, that is the one type of Christmas we simply cannot afford to have.”
He went on: “It grieved me because I think everyone hoped and prayed, I certainly did, that things could be, if not normal, then as normal as possible for as many families as possible. And yet we have had to confront the reality of the new strain of Covid, the speed with which it spreads. And I bet you agree that we had no choice but to take action.
“And therefore to all those who may be feeling momentarily, cast down or a bit exhausted or frankly in need of any kind of cheering up, I want to talk about what for me is the deeper meaning of Christmas, this amazing festival at the turn of the year. Because it's not about presents or turkey or brandy butter – much though I like all of that kind of stuff – it's about hope, it's about a basic idea of rebirth and renewal.
“And though we may not be able to celebrate as normal this year, I still think that feeling of hope is all around us this Christmas because there really is a star in the sky and it is glowing, brighter and brighter. And you know what it is? It's thanks to the efforts of wise men and wise women in the East and elsewhere, we have a vaccine and we know that we're going to succeed in beating coronavirus, annd that these privations that we're going through are temporary, and we know that next year really will be better.
“And we know that there will be people alive next Christmas, people we love alive next Christmas precisely because we made the sacrifice and didn't celebrate as normal this Christmas and see them in the way that we would've done.”
Looking at that “jingle and mingle” footage again, we find ourselves sickened and speechless.
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