Tories under fire after admitting a DIFFERENT party took place amid Covid curbs – and people are furious

Tories under fire after admitting a DIFFERENT party took place amid Covid curbs – and people are furious

The Conservatives are under fire after admitting holding a party while the nation was under Covid restrictions last December.

The admission comes as the fallout over the alleged Number 10 Christmas bash – a separate alleged event – rages on.

According to The Times, a “raucous” gathering took place at the party’s Westminster headquarters on December 14 while the capital was under tier 2 restrictions.

Organised by Shaun Bailey’s mayoral campaign, the bash was reportedly attended by Number 10 aides and featured dancing and wine-drinking into the early hours despite indoor social mixing being banned at the time.

The further damaging details emerged as Labour urged police to open an investigation into allegations staff broke coronavirus rules at the event in No 10, saying it was “implausible” for Scotland Yard to suggest there is insufficient evidence to investigate.

Amid the Christmas party controversy, the prime minister last night triggered the government’s plan B to tackle the rampant spread of the omicron variant.

Commenting on the party at the party’s headquarters, 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.”

The news of the party at the HQ building follows a row over whether or not a rule-breaking Christmas gathering was held on December 18 after London entered tier 3 restrictions.

The prime minister has repeatedly insisted the rules were followed that night but apologised over the impression made by leaked footage of No 10 staff joking about Covid restrictions.

The leaked clip of a mock media briefing showed Johnson’s then spokesperson Allegra Stratton joking that the “fictional party” was a “business meeting”, while fellow aides joked that guests had enjoyed “wine and cheese”. Stratton added that there was “definitely no social distancing”.

Stratton resigned yesterday, saying: “I will regret those remarks for the rest of my days and I offer my profound apologies to all of you at home for them.”

During yesterday’s PMQs, Johnson apologised for the “offence” caused by the leaked video and said he was “furious” to see the clip.

The Independent reports that the Tories are now facing claims of seven lockdown gatherings.

The reaction to the party controversy has been swift and furious, with criticism coming from across the board.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said Johnson should quit if he was found to have misled Parliament.

“If he knew there was a party, if he knew it took place, then he cannot come to the House of Commons and say there was no party,” he told Sky News.

ITV anchor Tom Bradby, meanwhile, branded the leaked video of Stratton a “car crash” for the government’s reputation, saying: “They literally look as if they are laughing at us, you, me – all of us.”

Ant and Dec have even taken several digs at Johnson on I’m A Celebrity.

According to The Mirror, a staff member who cared for the Queen and the late Duke of Edinburgh during the pandemic said: “It would be a gross understatement to say people are angry”.

Criticism of the party scandal continues to flood social media this morning, with some calling for Johnson to resign.

The prime minister’s attempt to move on from the row by tasking cabinet secretary Simon Case with undertaking an investigation appeared to have failed as details emerged of the separate party.

Shadow health secretary West Streeting said the Met should be “knocking on doors, taking statements and investigating people in No 10 in the way they would my constituents or anyone else in the country”.

“It seems implausible for the Metropolitan Police to argue there is no evidence that parties took place,” he told reporters.

“They’ve got to pursue this investigation without fear or favour and treat the Prime Minister and his staff as they would treat anyone else. It can’t be one rule for the Prime Minister and another for everyone else.”

The Metropolitan Police acknowledged it had received “a significant amount of correspondence” relating to the alleged breaches in No 10 in the run up to Christmas last year but said they do not “provide evidence of a breach” of Covid rules.

“Based on the absence of evidence and in line with our policy not to investigate retrospective breaches of such regulations, the Met will not commence an investigation at this time,” it added.

But the force did leave open the possibility of further inquiries by saying it would consider “any evidence” that emerges in the Case inquiry.

Is the party over for the Conservatives?

Indy100 has contacted the Conservative Party for comment.

Additional reporting by PA.

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