Government’s former ethics chief supplied karaoke machine for Downing Street party

The leaving do for a Downing Street aide took place on Whitehall during lockdown

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Monday 04 April 2022 18:47 BST
Helen MacNamara, who used to be deputy cabinet secretary, is reportedly among the first group of people to be fined
Helen MacNamara, who used to be deputy cabinet secretary, is reportedly among the first group of people to be fined (PA)

The government’s former chief adviser on ethics has apologised after being fined by police for attending a lockdown party on Whitehall.

Helen MacNamara is among the first group of people to have been given a fixed penalty notice in connection with the Partygate scandal.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Ms MacNamara brought a karaoke machine to a leaving bash for Downing Street aide Hannah Young.

The event reportedly took place in the cabinet secretary’s Whitehall office on 18 June 2020, at a time when all indoor gatherings were banned.

Members of the public had also been told not to sing in public, in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19, meaning that hymns could not be sung at funerals.

Ms MacNamara, who was director general for propriety and ethics in the Cabinet Office from 2018 to 2020, said: “I am sorry for the error of judgement I have shown. I have accepted and paid the fixed penalty notice.”

She was reportedly fined £50 for the offence. Her role in government was to ensure that the highest standards of propriety, integrity, and governance were met and adhered to.

The former deputy cabinet secretary has since left the government and now works for the Premier League.

The Metropolitan Police is investigating 12 events, including as many as six that the prime minister, Boris Johnson, is said to have attended.

The force has sent out more than 100 questionnaires, including one to the prime minister in February.

An initial round of 20 fixed penalty notices have been issued by the force in connection with the Partygate scandal, with more expected.

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