Archbishop of Canterbury was ‘disappointed’ to see photo of Conservative aides celebrating last Christmas

An explosive image obtained by the Mirror showed 24 people gathered in a room in the Conservatives’ headquarters in London on December 14, 2020

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was disappointed with the image

The Archbishop of Canterbury admitted he was “disappointed” to see the extraordinary photo of conservative activists celebrating at their headquarters last Christmas.

Justin Welby told the BBC news broadcaster that around the same time he was offering prayers and comfort to the dying at nearby St Thomas’s Hospital in central London.

When asked how he felt upon seeing the photo, he replied, “On a human level… just disappointed, really.

“I make so many mistakes myself, I’m not the rock-throwing type … I don’t do much to judge people, but we have to obey the rules.”

Metropolitan Police have confirmed they will investigate the ‘raucous’ party organized by Conservative aides when London was under level 2 restrictions last year.






The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was disappointed to see this photo, with Shaun Bailey in a white shirt

An explosive image obtained by the Mirror showed 24 people gathered in a room in the Conservatives’ headquarters in London on December 14, 2020.

Some assistants wore Christmas hats and raised glasses of wine, while a buffet also featured prominently in the photo.

At the time, the capital was under Tier 2 restriction which prohibited any social mix between households inside.
Scotland Yard said he would be in contact with two people at the party which was apparently on the Covid Restrictions Beach.

Speaking on the matter for the first time, the Archbishop said: “An investigation is underway. I will not prejudge this. But we must lead by example.

And asked if Boris Johnson – who is himself under investigation by the UK’s top civil servant for allegations he attended lockdown parties – needed to be more honest, he replied: “I’m not going to answer that question.”

Welby admitted that Mr Bailey had resigned as chairman of the London Assembly Police and Crime Commission, saying it was an ‘honorable’ decision – although the highest curator did not resign until after the image appeared.

“You have to recognize where things went wrong and say, yes, it was wrong,” the Archbishop said.

“I notice the former mayoral candidate immediately resigned. Well, that sounds very honorable… Everyone is wrong.”







Justin Welby didn’t say if Boris Johnson needed to be more honest
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Picture:

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


He has spoken on several occasions about what he sees as the importance for personalities in public life to take responsibility and to apologize if necessary “and that goes back a long way”.

When asked if a culture of honesty should come from above, he replied: “This is clearly essential – and isn’t it wonderful that we have such an extraordinary example atop the Queen in her total integrity in every way possible?”

When told about his opinion on the Prime Minister’s conduct, he declined to answer the question, saying one of the rules of his job was “you talk to people before you talk to people”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also revealed that his dog, Bramble, a clumber spaniel, has been known to climb the dinner table over Christmas.

Known as “ABCD” – Archbishop of Canterbury’s dog – Bramble has been described as a “handful” and “insatiable when it comes to food”.

Welby revealed that when he visited the Queen at Sandringham, he helped Her Majesty with a puzzle – but wouldn’t say which one.

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Jack C. Nugent