Shaun Bailey: It will take more than Christmas party scandal to stop my political career

The former London mayoral candidate said he felt he let Boris Johnson and his family down

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Former London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has spoken of his regret and disappointment after a photograph showing him at a party last year was published.

Speaking exclusively to Dan Wootton on GB News, Mr Bailey said he had returned to his office where staff members were gathering and stopped for a picture, saying “it was an error judgement.

“I had a young team. They’d been working very hard for months at a time. I came back from an event and they were there all set up and ready to go and I spoke to them and we took the infamous photo.

“I wish at that point I had said hold on a second, but I didn’t.”

Mr Bailey told Dan Wootton that he took full responsibility.

“We were in a workplace bubble. It felt quite natural… I wasn’t there long, but I was there long enough. I could’ve and should’ve said we’re going to wrong way with this.”

On Tuesday, the Daily Mirror published a photograph showing Tory Mr Bailey – who challenged Sadiq Khan in the capital’s mayoral race – with more than 20 other people wearing party hats or holding drinks.

Next to the group was a table laid with buffet food.

In a tweet thread, Mr Bailey said: “I want to apologise unreservedly for attending a gathering held by some of my staff in my campaign office last December.

“I gave a speech to my team to thank them for their efforts, before leaving shortly afterwards.

“It was a serious error of judgement at a time when Londoners were making immense sacrifices to keep us all safe and I regret it wholeheartedly.”

The Greater London Authority Conservatives confirmed on Tuesday that Mr Bailey had stepped back from chairing the London Assembly’s police and crime committee.

In a statement, they said: “He does not want an unauthorised social gathering involving some former members of the London mayoral campaign team last December to distract from the committee’s important work holding the Mayor of London to account.

“He will continue to speak up for Londoners who no longer feel safe in our city and push for a strategy to tackle the disproportionate level of crime in London’s black community.”

Shaun Bailey said he had stepped down because he had let “so many people who supported me” down.

“For those people, they’ll look at this and say Shaun I thought you were our guy. I want to continue to be their guy. That’s why I stood down.”

Asked whether he had apologise to Boris Johnson, Mr Bailey said he had “written to the PM… I get the distinct impression he’s disappointed with what I did. I’m disappointed with what I did. He feels to me like one of the people I’ve let down.

“My mum sent me a text. I’m a mum’s boy. If she says something, it’s impactful to me. She said I hope this is not true. I had to go back and say I was there.”

The Tories previously admitted the party had taken place on December 14, when London was in Tier 2 restrictions and said that staff had been disciplined.

The rules meant that no mixing was allowed indoors apart from with your household or bubble.

Despite the controversy, Shaun Bailey told GB News this would not derail his political ambitions.

“It will take more than this to stop me. I’m only a man. I’m not perfect. I wish this hadn’t happened, but it has.

“Half the reason the heat has been so high… there’s political forces that want to remove me.

“This pressure cooker that I’m in, this mistake I made, does not change that I still want to do well for people.”

Dan Wootton Tonight airs live every Monday to Thursday from 9PM on GB News.