Former Conservative candidate for London Mayor Shaun Bailey has been publicly rebuked by fellow Tories on the London Assembly as he failed to attend today’s meeting of the police and crime committee.
Bailey resigned as the committee’s chairman last night after a photograph emerged of him at a party held at Conservative headquarters last year in breach of Covid rules at that time along with members of his mayoral campaign team.
Susan Hall, who leads the Assembly’s Tory group and substituted for Bailey as chairman of today’s meeting, said she and Conservative colleagues had been “deeply disappointed” to see the photo, which has been published by the Mirror. “To have a party last year was wrong,” she said, though she commended Bailey for stepping down from the chair.
In his absence Bailey was called on by Assembly Members (AMs) from other parties to leave the committee entirely, with Green AM Caroline Russell suggesting he should consider resigning from the Assembly itself.
Noting that Bailey is yet to provide an explanation for his resignation as committee chairman, Labour AM Unmesh Desai said “nobody can underestimate the seriousness of this matter” or the strength of feeling from Londoners wanting “the answers they deserve”. Speaking for the Labour group he called on Bailey – “who flagrantly broke the law” – to step down from the committee with immediate effect.
Supporting Desai’s statement, Russell compared Bailey’s behaviour with “the care and sacrifice that everyone was making” at the time and said it went against “the principles and standards of public life” including “honesty and integrity”. She added that Bailey “may not even have told his colleagues the truth” and that it is now his duty “to think about his position on this committee and also as an elected person in public life”.
Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon too asked for Bailey to leave the committee, which has today been examining the Mayor’s draft new police and crime plan, a key policy document for the capital.
Labour members in Bexley have identified Bexley Tory councillor Adam Wildman as being among those present at the event. Wildman’s Twitter account has ceased to exist. Simon Archer, vicar of local All Saints church Belvedere, tweeted in response that the party had taken place on the same day as a member of his congregation died: “His wife spent his final days only able to talk to him through a window of his care home. Many of my parish have suffered isolation and died alone while they [Bailey’s campaign members] partied.” Archer described himself as “beyond angry”.
Bailey’s bid to win City Hall drew strong criticism for using leaflets disguised as a Council Tax demand from Khan, a website purporting to provide “facts” about Transport for London’s finances and for falsely claiming that Khan would charge “anyone driving into Greater London” £5.50 if re-elected.
Bailey has been a persistent critic of Khan’s record on policing and crime, and claimed that if became Mayor he would offer Londoners “a fresh start”.
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