British politicians and employees Delete Twitter after leaked Christmas party picture

  • A recently leaked photo shows 24 conservative political staff and activists at a Christmas party.
  • The event was on 14 December 2020, when Londoners were not allowed to mix households in gatherings.
  • Several employees and a councilor identified by The Guardian deleted their Twitter accounts.

Several Conservative British politicians and a city councilor deleted their profiles on social media after appearing on a leaked photo of a Christmas party held last year that broke the country’s COVID-19 rules.

The photo, allegedly taken at London’s conservative campaign headquarters on December 14, 2020, was first published by The Mirror on Wednesday and shows about two dozen people gathered next to a table filled with canap├ęs and what 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

London’s pandemic restrictions last December prevented households from interfering official British government Twitter directly to the residents: “You may not hold a Christmas lunch or party at work where it is primarily a social activity and otherwise not permitted under 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 the London Assembly.

“I would like to apologize unreservedly for attending a gathering held by some of my staff at my campaign office last December,” he tweeted Thursday.

“It was a serious misjudgment at a time when Londoners were making huge sacrifices to keep us all safe, and I apologize wholeheartedly,” he wrote. Bailey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Guardian identified a few political activists in the picture, such as Adam Wildman – a Conservative councilor for the London borough of Bexley, whose The Twitter account has since been deleted.

An online statement representing Bexley’s Conservative councilors said they were “shocked and very disappointed” by reports about the party. “We understand that this event is currently being investigated, so we can not comment further, but can confirm that after our selection process earlier this year, Councilor Wildman made the decision not to run for the Conservatives again in the election in May 2022, “statement read.

Wildman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ben Mallet, Bailey’s campaign director, was also identified by The Guardian as the man lying on the floor in front of the picture, lifting a glass of wine. His Twitter account was also deleted. Mallet declined to respond personally and shared with The Guardian an apology from the campaign.

The business also reportedly contacted four unnamed junior campaign assistants and staff, three of whom deleted their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.

On Bailey’s right, in a gray jacket with a glass of wine, is billionaire Nick Candy, a luxury real estate developer and conservative donor. A spokesman for Candy told The Mirror that the tycoon was present for an “end of year review”.

“He gave a short speech of thanks to the team and spent some time with Shaun Bailey to discuss campaign issues before leaving shortly after,” the spokesman said. Candy Capital, a private agency that looks after Candy’s interests, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The leaked image comes amid British opposition pressure on 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 photos apparently shows Johnson hosting a Christmas quiz on Dec. 15, which sources said was scheduled to be virtual but was attended in person by some employees.

Johnson denied that the COVID-19 rules were broken at the party. “What I can tell you is that all the guidelines were followed,” he said. “I have convinced myself that the guidelines were followed at all times.”

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