‘Error of judgement’ Shaun Bailey apologises after snaps emerge from ‘wild’ festive party

Shaun Bailey insists Conservatives can win London mayorship

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Shaun Bailey, 50, has issued two apologies after it was revealed he attended a festive gathering at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) last year. Mr Bailey, who performed above expectations when he took almost 45 percent of the vote against Labour’s Sadiq Khan, 51, in London Mayoral Election last May, publicly apologised for the Christmas party on social media and on GB News.

Speaking to GB News’ Dan Wootton, 38, the London Assembly Member said: “The first thing to say is I want to start with an apology.

“Whatever happened it was an error of judgement, so I want to own that.

“I had a young team, they had been working very hard for months at a time and I came back from an event and they were there all set up, sort of ready to go.

“I spoke to them and then we took the infamous photo.”

Mr Bailey added: “I wish at that point I had said ‘hold on a second we are straying here, we’re going too far’, but I didn’t.”

The ex-Mayoral candidate confirmed the photo was taken just before Mr Bailey scuttled off to appear on the BBC’s Newsnight programme.

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“I wasn’t there long but the point was I was there long enough,” he said.

But Brexit-backing Bailey, who resigned as chair of City Hall’s policing and crime committee, also stressed the campaign group’s workplace bubble made the event feel “quite natural”.

After the teetotal Tory left the party, at a time when London was placed under tier two restrictions which banned household mixing indoors, the event was said to have escalated.

Mr Bailey has written to Boris Johnson, 57, to further apologise for his actions.

Speaking about how the Prime Minister is feeling about the incident, Bailey said: “I get the distinct impression he is a little bit disappointed in what I did.”

Bailey went on to claim how his family also seemed disappointed when photos from the party were first reported in the Mirror.

However, Bailey also issued another apology on his social media page.

Writing on Twitter, he also said: “I want to apologise unreservedly for attending a gathering held by some of my staff in my campaign office last December.

“I gave a speech to my team to thank them for their efforts, before leaving shortly afterwards.

“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.”

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Senior CCHQ staff became aware of an unauthorised social gathering in the basement of Matthew Parker Street organised by the Bailey campaign on the evening of 14 December.

“Formal disciplinary action was taken against the four CCHQ staff who were seconded to the Bailey campaign.”

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Questions have been raised about a series of gatherings held in and around the festive season in 2020, including those at Downing Street.

Mr Johnson has tasked Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, 42, with investigating the matter further.

But the Prime Minister has insisted he abides by COVID-19 rules.

Speaking at the end of his Downing Street press conference yesterday, Mr Johnson said: “I follow the rules. Everybody across politics should follow the rules.”

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