Tobias Ellwood breaking Covid rules at Christmas dinner sparks furious backlash

Tobias Ellwood appears on Sky News. Photograph: Sky.

Tobias Ellwood appears on Sky News. Photograph: Sky. - Credit: Archant

A Tory MP who broke coronavirus rules to attend a Christmas party after advising others to be cautious has been slammed on Twitter.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood is under fire for attending a Christmas bash with 27 guests at a London club.

Ellwood, who chairs the Commons defence committee, gave a speech at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly on Tuesday where the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) hosted a Christmas bash.

The backbencher insisted that "business meetings" are allowed under Tier 2 restrictions, which applied at the time.

This comes after he told the Commons on Monday that letting families meet over the festive period "could be very dangerous indeed".

Twitter users erupted in anger at the news and saw Ellwood's name trend on the social media platform.

The Daily Mail's John Stevens, who broke the story, shed doubt on Ellwood's claims by posting a picture of the IBBC's official calendar, which showed the event as being a "Christmas party".

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The Good Law Project's Jo Maugham tweeted: "It's long been obvious that if the police actually wanted to catch people breaking Covid rules all they'd need to do is wander into White's or the Garrick one lunchtime or evening. But, of course, they might then be a little embarrassed by who they found. #OneRuleForThem."

Mahyar Tousi added: "This is the same Tobias Ellwood who’s been pushing for more lockdown restrictions and even wants Boris to cancel Christmas. The list of hypocrites is getting bigger in 2020."

Comedian Nish Kumar quipped: "They were probably all getting their eyes tested."

Andy Wilson wrote: "One rule for the Tories @BorisJohnson @MattHancock @10DowningStreet, one rule for the rest of us."

Dave posted: "If true then @Tobias_Ellwood should resign. My business and my industry have suffered enormously and lost thousands of pounds from the restrictions placed on meetings/events. Colleagues have lost their jobs and this is a smack in the gut to us all."

Home secretary Priti Patel agreed it was an "egregious" breach of rules. She told ITV: “Of course it is exactly that.

“Having dinner outside of the rules with a large number of people is a breach of the regulations.”

Asked if there should be a punishment, Patel said: “There are fixed penalty notices. I don’t know the details as to where this happened or the location, but I’m sure, as it is a breach, that will be followed up.”

But she declined to say whether it is a disciplinary matter for the party, acknowledging that “I simply do not know the full details”.

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