Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood attended an exclusive Christmas dinner with 27 guests on Tuesday – despite warning that allowing families to meet over the festive period “could be very dangerous indeed” in the House of Commons the day before.
The MP for Bournemouth East, who chairs the Commons defence committee, gave a speech for the event at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly.
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’ and was therefore allowed under the Tier Two restrictions that applied at the time.
Here’s Tobias Ellwood in the Commons *a day before the dinner* warning that allowing families to meet at Christmas “could be very dangerous indeed” and risks a “third wave” pic.twitter.com/vkd5QCLKKM— John Stevens (@johnestevens) December 16, 2020
Questioned by the Daily Mail, Ellwood said: “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.”
He added that all 27 people followed strict guidance and no Christmas crackers were pulled.
But the move will undoubtedly come as a blow to the Government ahead of a crucial festive period.
Boris Johnson yesterday urged people to have a ‘smaller, safer Christmas’ due to Covid fears, saying provisions set in law were “maximums, not a target to aim for”.
The Prime Minister admitted the coronavirus situation had deteriorated since the festive bubble rules were set by the four nations of the UK as the Government issued updated guidance for what has been dubbed the “Christmas window”.
He said the laws were remaining the same but “a smaller Christmas is going to be a safer Christmas and a shorter Christmas is a safer Christmas”.
He added: “Have yourselves a merry little Christmas – and I’m afraid this year I do mean little.”