Bexley Conservative councillor appears next to Shaun Bailey in ‘illegal’ lockdown Christmas party photo

Bexley councillor Adam Wildman, who represents Blendon and Penhill, appears to be standing next to Mr Bailey, in the image of the gathering at Tory HQ on December 14, 2020.
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A London Conservative councillor appears in the photograph of the lockdown-breaking party which saw Shaun Bailey quit his senior role on the capital’s policing committee.

The former Tory London mayoral candidate stepped down from his role as chairman of the policing and crime committee after the photo came to light, which shows revellers shoulder to shoulder in party hats and Christmas jumpers, holding glasses of wine, next to a buffet.

At the time, London was under Tier 2, with indoor socialising between households banned and it had been announced hours earlier the capital would move into tougher Tier 3 rules.

Mr Wildman is yet to comment, but the Conservative group have said he confirmed prior to the reports of the party first emerging last week that he would not seek re-election next year.

The councillor also appears to have deactivated his Twitter account, but screenshots of his LinkedIn account posted to the social networking site appear to show he worked as a Conservative party political director until May 2021.

Labour figures have today (Wednesday, December 15, 2021) urged Bexley council to hand over any evidence of Mr Wildman’s attendance of the party last year to the Met Police.

In a letter to Conservative council leader Teresa O’Neill, Stefano Borella, Labour group leader, wrote: “Having studied the photograph it would appear Adam Wildman was in attendance at the illegal party and is standing next to Mr Bailey in the photograph.”

Bexley councillor Adam Wildman. Photo: Bexley CouncilBexley councillor Adam Wildman. Photo: Bexley Council
Bexley councillor Adam Wildman. Photo: Bexley Council

“According to his LinkedIn profile, Councillor Wildman was at the time employed as a political director by the Conservatives.

“The question must be asked whether he was one of the four staff disciplined by the party when they became aware their staff had broken the law on their own premises.”

The Conservatives previously confirmed four party staff members were disciplined following the event.

Mr Borella asked Ms O’Neill whether Mr Wildman still holds the Conservative whip and remains chairman of the council pensions committee and vice-chairman of a scrutiny body.

In the letter, he asked whether she “was aware of his attendance at the illegal party when he was appointed to these two roles in May 2021” and the date when she was told of his attendance by the Conservative Party following their internal investigation.

And he urged her to cooperate with the Met Police, including handing over documents, as well as reporting Mr Wildman to the council standards officer to investigate his conduct.

In a statement, Bexley Conservative group said: “We are shocked and very disappointed by reports in the media today about a party – involving one of our own councillors – that took place last year while Bexley residents were under very tight Covid restrictions.

“We recognise and share the anger that it has caused.

Bexley Conservatives have always supported the measures put in place to protect lives and prevent the spread of this disease and we cannot and will not condone any actions that place these at risk.

“We understand this event is currently being investigated, so are unable to comment further, but can confirm that following our selection process earlier this year, Mr Wildman took the decision not to stand for the Conservatives again at the election in May 2022.”

On Wednesday, December 15, Mr Bailey said in a tweet: “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.”

LondonWorld has approached Mr Wildman for comment.

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