A video has emerged appearing to show Conservative Party staff dancing and joking about Covid restrictions at the height of the pandemic.
The footage, obtained by the Mirror, shows the workers at a 2020 Christmas party at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) in Westminster.
During the video, a man can be heard asking: “Are you filming this?”, to which another responded: “it’s for party, um, party use.”
Someone else said: “Instagram live!”
The first person then laughed, and said: “As long as we are not streaming that we’re, like, bending the rules.”
A couple dancing and twirling crash into a buffet table stacked with food and wine glasses at one point, while other guests walk past wearing paper crowns and clutching alcoholic drinks.
The Mirror reported that 24 people were at the party, which took place on December 14, 2020 – while indoor socialising was banned under Tier 2 restrictions across the UK.
Two of those at the party were named in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.
It was organised by the campaign team of then-London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey – now Lord Bailey after Johnson made him a peer in his honours list.
Bailey had reportedly left the party before the video was taken.
It also features Ben Mallet – awarded an OBE in Johnson’s list – filmed holding a glass of red wine and wearing festive braces.
Mallet was the Conservative party’s campaign director for the 2021 London mayoral election.
Scotland Yard previously launched an investigation into the bash after the Daily Mirror published a picture of the gathering.
However, the force concluded at the time that the photo was not sufficient evidence to find an offence had been committed.
A CCHQ 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 December 14, 2020.
“Formal disciplinary action was taken against the four CCHQ staff who were seconded to the Bailey campaign.”
Cabinet minister Michael Gove said he would like to “apologise to everyone” over the video, calling it “terrible” and “completely out of order”.
He told Sky News the fact the party went ahead is “indefensible”, and he’s “sure the people there feel contrite – or I hope they do”.
The video comes days after Boris Johnson was found to have deliberately misled UK Parliament with his statements about lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street.
A Privileges Committee of MPs found the former prime minister’s breaches serious enough to recommend a suspension of 90 days, if he were still an MP and had he not resigned in anticipation of the report.
It also recommended that Johnson should not be entitled to a former Member’s pass to the Houses of Parliament.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said the footage shows Conservatives “openly mocked the rules the British people followed” while Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said it should make ministers “sick to their stomachs”.
“Revellers at this lockdown Tory booze-up openly mocked the rules the British people followed. The Tories think it’s one rule for them and one rule for everyone else,” Rayner said.
“Instead of forcing them to face the consequences, Rishi Sunak has caved into Boris Johnson’s demands and chosen to reward them with honours. It’s a sickening insult.
“This Prime Minister is failing to deliver the integrity he promised and showing he’s too weak to turn the page on 13 years of Tory scandal.”
Cooper said: “Conservative MPs and ministers should be sick to their stomachs seeing this new Partygate footage.
“While families grieved and NHS staff worked on the front line, Conservative Campaign Headquarters partied.
“What’s worse is the current Prime Minister granted Boris Johnson’s request to give some of these people honours.
“There are thousands of families out there who deserve an apology for this scandal – Rishi Sunak should give them one immediately.”