Justin Welby 'disappointed' by Tory Christmas party

The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks to a patient at St Thomas' in his role as chaplain.(Photo: Lambeth Palace)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he was "disappointed" by photos of an apparent lockdown party at Conservative party headquarters last year. 

The party was organised by the London mayoral campaign team of Shaun Bailey and held at a time when London was under Tier 2 restrictions, which prevented indoor social mixing.

Bailey resigned after a photo of the gathering emerged in the press and the police have since spoken to two people.

Speaking to BBC Newscast, Archbishop Justin Welby said that while Tory aides were partying, he was at the nearby St Thomas's Hospital comforting Covid patients.

Asked how he felt about the photo, he replied, "On a human level ... just disappointed, really.

"I make so many mistakes myself, I'm not a big one for throwing stones ... I don't really do much on judging people, but we must obey the rules."

He added that leaders "need to set an example".

"We have to depersonalise it, let's get away from that example, and I'd say, 'Obey the rules, stick to the rules,'" he said. 

Scotland Yard is also looking into reports of other social gatherings at No 10 Downing Street and the Department for Education in the lead-up to Christmas 2020.