Thursday, 8 Dec 2022

Archbishop of Canterbury ‘disappointed on a human level’ over Tory Christmas party

GMB: Archbishop of Canterbury calls for UK to share vaccine

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The Most Rev Justin Welby, the principal leader of the Church of England, has said that the leaders must “put their hands up” and “acknowledge where things have gone wrong” as the Government continues to deal with the backlash over several Christmas parties held last year while under strict Covid regulations. Talking about the allegations on a BBC podcast, he said the Government should simply admit they were wrong.

He said: “You have to acknowledge where things have gone wrong and say, yes that was wrong.”

The comment came at the time when the Metropolitan Police launched a probe to look into the Tory Christmas Party held last December.

The Police further announced that the officials would be reaching out to at least two people who attended the party at Conservative Party Campaign Headquarters.

The event which took place on December 14 last year created a lot of stir with Shaun Bailey, the former Tory London mayoral candidate, resigning from his role.

Mr Shaun apologised “unreservedly” for the event.

In an interview for the Newscast podcast, the Archbishop said: “I notice the former mayoral candidate immediately stepped down. Well, that seems very honourable.

“That seems to me to be an honourable and proper way of doing it. Everyone gets things wrong.”

Mr Johnson has repeatedly insisted no rules were broken when confronted with allegations of gatherings at Downing Street last year, at a time when households were banned from social mixing.

He has, however, accepted the resignation of Allegra Stratton, his senior aide, over the matter.

It is estimated that the comments made by the Archbishop will build more pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is already facing heat for having several gatherings in Downing Street last Christmas, breaching breached Covid restrictions.

The Most Rev Justin Welby refused to comment when asked whether Boris Johnson needed to be more honest.

However, speaking on how he felt upon seeing the pictures of the party, he told the Newscast programme: “On a human level … just disappointed, really.”

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The partygate allegations surfaced after Mr Johnson introduced fresh restrictions to contain the spread of the Omicron variant.

On Thursday, Downing Street denied fresh allegations that Mr Johnson attended a “party” with staff during the first lockdown on May 15 last year, when people were only permitted to meet one other person from outside their household in an outdoor, public space.

The number of Covid-19 cases topped 88,000, setting a new record for the second day in a row.

On Wednesday, a further 745,183 boosters and third doses were recorded – the highest figure recorded to date, but below the one million target set by the Prime Minister last weekend.

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