Partygate: Former ethics chief ‘fined’ over karaoke night during covid lockdown


The former ethics chief for the Government has reportedly been fined over the “partygate” scandal.

Helen MacNamara, who used to be the deputy cabinet secretary, is said to be among the first group of people to receive a fixed-penalty notice (FPN) from the Metropolitan Police as part of its investigation into alleged lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.

The Daily Telegraph reported that MacNamara received a £50 fine on Friday in connection with a karaoke leaving do held in the Cabinet Office on June 18, 2020 to mark the departure of a private secretary.

Meanwhile, several reports suggest people have also received fines linked with a gathering that took place on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year. These FPNs were among the initial round of 20 issued by cops.



Helen MacNamara has reportedly been fined over the lockdown parties

MacNamara was the director general of property and ethics in the Cabinet Office from 2018 to 2020.

The purpose of the role was to ensure the highest standards of property, integrity and governance within Government.

She was promoted to the post of deputy cabinet secretary in March 2020 and later left Government to work for the Premier League.

The leaving do in 70 Whitehall on June 18, 2020 was reportedly held by Hannah Young, a former home affairs policy adviser who was taking up the post of deputy consul general in New York.

There were said to be about 20 people present, with alcohol consumed.

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It was reported that advisers and civil servants gathered after work for two separate events on April 16 2021, as the country was in mourning after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

One was for former Downing Street director of communications James Slack and the second for a photographer, and they were later reported to have merged.

No 10 staff were said to have parted until the early hours of the morning in a seven-hour drinking session.

Takeaway pizzas were reported to have been ordered in and some of the revelers were said to have used a slide belonging to Boris and Carries Johnson’s son, Wilfred.

The following day, the Queen sat alone – socially distanced from her family – as she said goodbye to her husband.

No 10 previously said an apology had been extended to Buckingham Palace.

It has also been suggested by ITV News that Boris Johnson will not be interviewed by the Metropolitan Police as part of their “partygate” investigation.

This is because the force is not interviewing those who have received questionnaires as part of the inquiries, and could potentially be fined, the broadcaster said.

Conservative MP Steve Brine on Sunday night called for transparency about who has been issued for purposes.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, the MP for Winchester said: “They should just be honest about who’s been tipped off with what and put it all out there and say, you know what, we got this wrong, or this person’s got this fine, because these guys in the press, they won’t focus on the issues of the local election, they’ll scratch around and try and dig all this stuff up again.”

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The Met is investigating 12 events, including as many as six that the Prime Minister is said to have attended, and has sent out more than 100 questionnaires.

The PM received his in February.

ITV said the only officials being interviewed are “witnesses”, whose role is to help the police interpret questionnaires submitted by other people.

“The Met are not interviewing those who received questionnaires and are in the frame to be fined,” it said.

No 10 has so far only promised to confirm if the PM or Cabinet Secretary Simon Case are given an FPN.

The PM is not said to have attended either the June 18 2020 gathering or the events on April 16 2021.

The Met declined to comment. The Cabinet Office also said it had nothing to add, beyond pointing to a statement from Scotland Yard issued earlier this week.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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