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Archbishop of Canterbury says he was 'disappointed' to see picture of party at Conservative HQ

by Kelly Valencia

The Archbishop of Canterbury has shared his thoughts on the Christmas gathering at the Conservative Party headquarters last December. 

Earlier this week, the Daily Mirror published a photograph showing Tory former mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey and dozens of other people at a Christmas party during lockdown last year.

Speaking to the BBC's Newscast podcast, Most Rev Justin Welby said he was "disappointed" when he saw the photograph, but he was not "a big one for throwing stones".

"My favourite story in the Bible, one my favourites, is when someone's dragged up in front of Jesus, a woman caught in adultery, and they say: 'Should she be stoned?' And Jesus just says: 'those without sin cast the first stone' and all her accusers go away. And he says: 'Does nobody judge you?' And she says: 'no'. And he says: 'Well, go your way and don't do it again'. Now, that's Jesus. That seems a quite good example." 

He continued: "I think that not so much social media, but most people in most places when someone puts their hand up and say: 'Look, that was a stupid thing to do. And I shouldn't have done that,' even today, there's a level of forgiveness… ad I noticed the former mayoral candidate immediately step down, that seems to me to be an honourable and proper way of doing it."

The Conservative party has admitted the event took place on December 14, when London was in Tier 2 restrictions, and said that staff have been disciplined.

The rules meant that no mixing was allowed indoors apart from with your household or bubble.

Archbishop Welby added that he believes creating a culture of honesty from the top is "clearly essential" and described the Queen as an "extraordinary example."

"Isn't it wonderful that we have such an extraordinary example at the top of the Queen with her complete integrity in every possible way."

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