Anglesey MP Virginia Crosbie apologises for attending ‘birthday drinks’ during Covid

Ms Crosbie has apologies for the "error of judgment in attending the event."

A Conservative MP has apologised for attending an event in Parliament while Covid restrictions were still in place.

Ynys Môn MP, Virginia Crosbie, has been reported as attending a birthday drinks event on 8 December 2020 whilst the country was in lockdown.

In a statement, Ms Crobsie has said: “The invitation for this event was not sent out by me. I attended the event briefly, I did not drink and I did not celebrate my birthday. I went home shortly after to be with my family.

“I apologise unreservedly for a momentary error of judgment in attending the event.”

The Guido Fawkes website reported that Ms Crosbie, was the co-host of the event, with the site quoting a WhatsApp message from Baroness Jenkin describing the event as “joint birthday drinks” to mark the pair turning 54 and 65 respectively.

The event has come under the spotlight after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson lashed out at the Privileges Committee ahead of its damning report into his conduct, and accused Sir Bernard Jenkin of “monstrous hypocrisy” for allegedly attending the event with his wife.

Llinos Medi, Plaid Cymru Leader of the Ynys Môn County Council, said: "The people of Ynys Môn will be incredibly disappointed to learn that their Member of Parliament, Virginia Crosbie, broke Covid lockdown rules by partying in London in December 2020.

“As Parliamentary Private Secretary to Minister for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, at the time, Ms Crosbie would have been well aware that she was breaking the rules by attending a birthday party along with several other Conservative MPs.

“We are well aware of her readiness to blame politicians for any transgressions.

“By partying in London whilst we on Anglesey were keeping to the rules, Ms Crosbie has shown complete contempt towards the people she represents and for the laws she was partly responsible in creating.

“Under the circumstances, I would hope Ms Crosbie refers herself to the Metropolitan Police and to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner so that they can investigate if the party was illegal and if any further action is necessary.”

  • Analysis from ITV Wales' Political Editor, Adrian Masters

Partygate keeps causing problems for Conservative MPs and for the wider party.

This story is at the same time a straightforward acknowledgement of a breach of the rules and an insight into the deep rift which could lose the Conservatives the next UK General Election.

So in one respect, Virginia Crosbie's apology is an admission of mis-judgement which critics of the Conservative UK Government will seize on as another example of a culture of "one rule for them" at the top of Whitehall that they believe continues to resonate with voters. 

But this episode is also part of the bigger internal war within the Conservative Party between supporters of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. 

The latest revelations about parties in Parliament will cause a split between supporters of Boris Johnson and those of Rishi Sunak. Credit: PA

Seen in that context, the Ynys Môn MP is collateral damage, with the real target being Sir Bernard Jenkin.

He is the Conservative MP who sat on the Privileges Committee, which produced such scathing criticism of Boris Johnson and whom supporters of the former Prime Minister have accused of hypocrisy because of his attendance at the gathering, which was initially reported as being a birthday celebration for his wife, Baroness Anne Jenkin. 

However, Virginia Crosbie will have had her card marked too: when she resigned from her government role in July 2022 in the wave of resignations which led to the downfall of Boris Johnson, she made her disappointment in him public. 

It marked a difficult breach between the two: in happier times Boris Johnson used to call her jokingly the "Atomic kitten" because of her repeated support for a new nuclear power station on Anglesey. 

She disputes some of what's being reported today but it could still could cost Virginia Crosbie dearly if, as a result of it, voters on Ynys Môn turn against her when the UK General Election comes.

It may not make much difference one way or another, though, if the vicious squabbling within the Conservative party and the fallout of partygate and the ejection of Boris Johnson continues.

It could be that many more seats gained in 2019, are also swept away.

It was one of the biggest news stories of our time, so what did Boris Johnson know about Downing Street’s notorious parties? With fresh revelations from our Number 10 sources, in their own words, listen to the inside story...