1 of 2 | London police announced they are looking at gatherings involving Shaun Bailey, the Conservative Party candidate for London mayor in 2021, held during strict COVID-19 lockdown protocols. Photo courtesy of London Assembly
July 4 (UPI) -- London police said Tuesday they are conducting a pair of investigations into alleged violations of strict COVID-19 lockdown rules in place during 2020, including a gathering hosted by a London mayoral candidate.
The Metropolitan Police issued an update saying new evidence had come to light in their probes of a pair of Conservative Party figures -- former mayor candidate Shaun Bailey and Tory MP Bernard Jenkin.
Bailey, currently a member of the London Assembly after losing the mayoral race in 2021 to incumbent Sadiq Khan, was initially investigated over a "Jingle and Mingle" event held in December 2020 -- the probe was subsequently dropped.
Now, however, investigators say they will reopen that case as well as a new probe of a gathering hosted Jenkin at Westminster the same month.
Video appears to show members of Bailey's campaign at a "Jingle and Mingle" gathering in December 2020 while the country was under Tier 2 restrictions because of the pandemic.
"The Met and Thames Valley Police have assessed new material in relation to potential breaches of Covid Regulations in 2020 and 2021. The Met will be opening one investigation and re-opening a previous investigation," police said in a statement Tuesday.
"The approach to the assessment of these events has been consistent, enforcing the law carefully, thoroughly, proportionately, impartially and without fear or favor."
Bailey has previously apologized for a video purporting to show his campaign staff partying.
Britain's Conservative Party issued a statement Tuesday following news of the new investigation.
"Senior CCHQ staff became aware of an unauthorized social gathering in the basement of Matthew Parker Street organized by the Bailey campaign on the evening of 14th December 2020. Formal disciplinary action was taken against the four CCHQ staff who were seconded to the Shaun Bailey campaign," party executives told Sky News in a statement.
The newly opened probe involving Jenkin stems from a Dec. 8. 2020, event in Parliament, the BBC reported.
Police are not currently considering further action against former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson, a fellow Conservative Party member, was at the heart of a separate party held at 10 Downing Street around the same time period during COVID-19 restrictions.
He resigned as a member of parliament in June ahead of the release of a report that found he misled Parliament about the gatherings.