Police to speak to two people who attended Christmas party at Conservative headquarters

The Met confirmed it will speak to two attendees of the party at the Tory Party HQ in Matthew Parker Street, London. Credit: Google Street View

Two people who went to a gathering at the Conservative Party headquarters in December last year, which was attended by former London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, will be contacted by officers, the Met Police has said.

Officers will speak to two people who attended the party on December 14, 2020 over allegations the party breached coronavirus regulations.

The force would not name the two individuals who it intends to contact.

It comes after a picture emerged of Mr Bailey and 23 of his supporters at the party wearing festive hats and holding glasses of wine in front of a buffet table, at a time when the capital was under Tier 2 restrictions, meaning households were not allowed to mix indoors unless they were in support bubbles.

The Met also said it was not looking into claims of parties alleged to have taken place in Downing Street and the Department for Education in November and December of 2020 because it does "not normally investigate" such breaches when they are reported "long after they are said to have taken place", unless evidence "comes to light", despite the force saying it had received a "significant amount of information" regarding the alleged No 10 gatherings.

In a statement, police said: "All the material has been considered by detectives in detail and it does not provide evidence of a breach of the Health Protection Regulations, but restates allegations made in the media.

"In line with our policy where we do not normally investigate breaches of these regulations when they are reported long after they are said to have taken place, unless there is evidence from the Cabinet Office or other evidence comes to light, the Met will not at this time commence an investigation."

Police said Cabinet Secretary Simon Case is investigating the alleged gatherings, but if he uncovered fresh evidence then it could commence an investigation, with Mr Case expected to hand over any material relating to behaviour which is potentially criminal.

Downing Street staff have been told some of them would be summoned in the coming days to give evidence to Mr Case's investigation and warned not to "destroy any relevant information" regarding the alleged parties, in an email seen by ITV News.

Boris Johnson has insisted he "certainly broke no rules" amid numerous allegations that Covid laws were repeatedly breached in Downing Street during last winter's lockdown.

But the prime minister ordered Mr Case's inquiry after ITV News obtained video showing some of his senior advisers laughing about a party which allegedly took place on December 18, while London was under Tier 3 restrictions which prevented people from mixing indoors with anyone they did not live with.

Watch the leaked video, obtained by ITV News, showing senior Downing Street staff joking about the December 18 party - days after it's alleged to have taken place

The most recent accusation is that the PM and former health secretary Matt Hancock joined about 20 members of No 10 staff in Downing Street for a pizza and wine party during the first lockdown on May 15, last year, according to The Guardian and Independent.

A source allegedly claimed to the papers that Mr Johnson told staff they deserved a drink for "beating back" the virus, following a press conference led by Mr Hancock that day.

It is also alleged that Covid regulations were also breached in Number 10 on December 15, last year, when Mr Johnson virtually hosted a Christmas quiz.

And the Cabinet Secretary is looking into claims of government rule breaking at a November 27 staff leaving do in No 10.

Meanwhile, Mr Bailey has said he apologises "unreservedly" for attending the party in his campaign office last year, as he came under pressure to resign from the London Assembly.

"It was a serious error of judgement at a time when Londoners were making immense sacrifices to keep us all safe and I regret it wholeheartedly," he added.