Tory MP’s lockdown ‘Christmas party’ with TWENTY-SEVEN guests: Ex-minister who warned of a third wave attended a festive function at exclusive London club… but insists it was a ‘business meeting’
- Tobias Ellwood gave a speech at a formal dinner in Piccadilly earlier this week
- The Commons defence committee chair insists event was a business meeting
- The Iraq Britain Business Council described the occasion as a ‘Christmas party’
A Tory MP attended a Christmas dinner for 27 guests at a London club despite claiming family gatherings over Christmas risked a third wave of coronavirus.
Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the Commons defence committee, gave a speech for the event at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly on Tuesday.
The Iraq Britain Business Council described the occasion, which took place hours before London entered Tier Three, on its website as its ‘Christmas Party’.
Mr Ellwood insisted it was a ‘business meeting’ allowed under the Tier Two restrictions that applied at the time.
In the Commons on Monday he had argued that ‘letting down our guard’ by allowing families to meet over Christmas ‘could be very dangerous indeed’.
Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Commons defence committee, has denied attending a Christmas party on Tuesday, insisting it was a ‘business meeting,’ that was ‘absolutely Covid-compliant’
He claimed relaxation of the rules for five days should be reviewed ‘so we don’t begin the New Year with a third wave’.
According to the IBBC’s website, the dinner was co-hosted by its president Baroness Nicholson, who is also Boris Johnson’s trade envoy for Iraq.
When questioned about his attendance, Mr Ellwood told the Daily Mail: ‘I would not be attending a Christmas party, it was a business meeting.
‘I went there to meet business people and that is what it was. The club went to extreme lengths so that as a business function it was absolutely Covid-compliant.’
An online diary entry, which has since been removed, described Tuesday’s Iraq Britain Business Council gathering as a ‘Christmas party’
Mr Ellwood said 27 people were in attendance but insisted ‘they all followed the guidance’.
He added: ‘It is absolutely right that everybody should follow the rules. The Club confirm that the rules were not broken.’
He denied that there were Christmas crackers, adding: ‘There was a proper formal address and then I was introduced to business people. It was a proper business function.’
Asked if turkey was served to the guests for the meal, Mr Ellwood said: ‘No I don’t think so.’
Mr Ellwood denied said there were no Christmas crackers at the event at The Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly, saying it was a ‘proper business function’
The IBBC has removed its online description of the event as a ‘Christmas Party’.
The Cavalry and Guards Club said: ‘We do not comment on any private parties held here at the club.’
The Department for International Trade declined to comment on Baroness Nicholson’s attendance.
The Government guidance for Tier 2 areas states that ‘gatherings for work purposes are only allowed where they are reasonably necessary’. It adds: ‘Business events are permitted, but capacity should be restricted.’