Christmas is apparently the season “to be jolly” but if this year’s festivities are anything to go by it’s definitely the season for leaked images from alleged festive parties that happened in Tory circles during Covid restrictions.

More images of apparent gatherings that happened last year have been published online with the most recent coming from an event organised by the campaign team for former London mayor candidate Shaun Bailey.

The photo, published by The Mirror, shows a group of 24 people who were all gathered together in a medium-sized room at Conservative Campaign Headquarters on December 14th 2020, when the rest of London was in a tier 2 lockdown.

A catered buffet, along with party hats, glasses of wine, lots of laughs and even Christmas jumpers can be seen in the photo at what has been described as a “raucous” event that went on late into the night.

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Bailey has now apologised “unreservedly” for attending the “gathering” and has quit as the chair of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee. A spokesperson for the Greater London Authority Conservatives said Bailey had stepped down to prevent the “unauthorised social gathering” distracting from the committee’s work of holding London mayor Sadiq Khan to account.

Reactions to the images are, predictably, rather uncomplimentary with many people irate that there are more allegations of Tories breaking lockdown rules.

Others have had a bit of fun with the photo at the expense of Bailey’s team and the Conservatives.

Others noted that it did look like the sort of photo that a football teams takes after they’ve won a match.

Even deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner couldn’t believe that there was catering.

CCHQ did reportedly stress on Tuesday evening that the event was “unauthorised” and that three members of staff had been disciplined as a result.

A campaign spokesperson said: “On the evening of 14 December 2020, at the end of the working day, the campaign hosted a post-work event to thank campaign staff for their efforts over the course of the year.

“This was a serious error of judgement and we fully accept that gathering like this as this time was wrong and we apologise unreservedly.”

Last week, when details of the party emerged, a Tory spokesman said: “Senior CCHQ (Conservative Campaign Headquarters) staff became aware of an unauthorised social gathering in the basement of Matthew Parker Street organised by the Bailey campaign on the evening of December 14.

“Formal disciplinary action was taken against the four CCHQ staff who were seconded to the Bailey campaign.”

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