Priti Patel says MP Tobias Ellwood's alleged Christmas dinner speech was an 'egregious breach' of Covid rules

Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Priti Patel said a Conservative MP who allegedly attended a Christmas dinner with 27 guests was an egregious breach of Covid guidelines.

Tobias Ellwood gave a speech for an event at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly, London on Tuesday.

When asked by ITV News whether Mr Ellwood's actions were an egregious breach of the rules, the Home Secretary said: "Of course, it is exactly that... Having dinner outside of the rules with a large number of people is a breach of the regulations."

Asked whether Mr Ellwood should face face a fine, Ms Patel said: "There are fixed penalty notices.

"I don't know the details as to where this happened or the location, but I'm sure as it is a breach that will be followed up."

Ms Patel said she did not know enough about the meeting to speculate on whether Mr Ellwood could face disciplinary measures from the Conservative Party.

  • ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen on Tobias Ellwood 'Christmas party'

"That is something I'm not getting into as I simply don't know the full details," she said.

Mr Ellwood, who chairs the Commons defence committee, reportedly told the Daily Mail it was a "business meeting" allowed under Tier two guidelines, which applied in London at the time.

He told ITV News that the meeting was Covid complaint, otherwise he would not have attended the event.

Mr Ellwood apologised for attending the event, tweeting: "I am sorry that coverage of my well intentioned attendance, may have muddled the government's clear message as we head to Christmas.

"While the event was fully Covid complaint - perceptions count. Something I will be more conscious of in conducting my portfolio duties during the difficult months ahead."

The Bournemouth East MP had warned the House of Commons that relaxing Covid restrictions for five days over Christmas could lead to another surge in infections - the day before attending the dinner event.