Priti Patel, the home secretary of UK accused Tobias Ellwood of breaching COVID-19 restrictions. Ellwood, the ex-foreign minister had attended a Christmas dinner arranged by the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC).
Patel didn't spare him as soon as she heard the news. She said that Ellwood would have to pay a fine. Patel agreed with ITV calling his move 'egregious. ' "Having dinner outside of the rules with a large number of people is a breach of the regulations," she said. Ms Patel also warned that there were 'fixed-penalty' notices for this action.
Tobias Ellwood's Response
It's ironic that Ellwood was the man who wasn't in favour of families coming together for Christmas. This seemed to be 'very dangerous' to him. He was also the man who wanted the government to reconsider relaxing it's COVID-19 restrictions.
However, Ellwood defended himself by claiming that the 'Christmas dinner' was actually a 'business meeting.' But details given on the IBBC website contradicts this claim. Moreover, Ellwood furthur defended himself by saying that the 'business meeting' was allowed under Tier 2 restrictions. The Tier 3 restrictions which prohibit such gatherings came into effect after that.
Mr. Ellwood added that he was invited to address the council at the meeting. “We still have troops based in Iraq and the security situation is deteriorating. I work hard to leverage every opportunity to further my understanding of international foreign policy and security matters. I gleaned extremely useful intelligence from this gathering about what is happening on the ground and wider issues affecting the Middle East,” he said.
It was his conservative peer, Lady Nicholas who backed his claims. She assured that none of the restrictions were breached during the event.
Priti Patel's Stance
Earlier, Priti Patel encouraged people to revoke their Christmas plans which involve travelling over long distances. She said this by referring to herself. Patel said that she wouldn't be meeting her parents this Christmas. She feels that she wouldn't be considering their safety if she does so. By saying this, she wished that people would take note of this and become more responsible.
This has come after UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned at a conference that people must limit their Christmas gatherings.
Patel has been supporting the government's COVID-19 restrictions and wants people to play safe.
“We would urge everyone to be conscientious and to make the appropriate plans and the appropriate changes to their plans as well, hence the point about having a smaller and shorter Christmas."
“We’re urging people not to travel. Why would you travel? If you’re in a low-tier area, why would you travel into a high-tier area? So people will exercise their judgment.”