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Government’s Former Ethics Chief Apologises Over Partygate “Error Of Judgement”

Government’s Former Ethics Chief Apologises Over Partygate “Error Of Judgement”

The first fines over the partygate scandal over lockdown breaking parties in Number 10 have been issued by the Metropolitan Police (Alamy)

2 min read

The government’s former ethics chief Helen MacNamara has confirmed that she has paid a police fine in connection with the 'partygate' scandal and apologised for an “error of judgement”.

On Sunday, The Telegraph reported that she had received a fixed penalty notice (FPN) in connection with a leaving event for a colleague held in the Cabinet Office in June 2020 during the first lockdown.

MacNamara, who was in charge of Whitehall propriety and ethics at the time, said: "I am sorry for the error of judgment I have shown. I have accepted and paid the fixed penalty notice."

The former civil servant, who now works for the Premier League, was reported to have received a £50 fine after the Metropolitan police concluded she had broken Covid laws by attending the party for Hannah Young, a Downing Street aide who was moving to New York to take up a role with the British Consulate General.

MacNamara, who was made deputy cabinet secretary before leaving for the private sector earlier this year, is among the first tranche of people issued with an FPN under the Met’s Operation Hillman.

Further fines are expected to be handed out with officers also due to begin interviewing witnesses after around 100 questionnaires were sent to Boris Johnson and others in Number 10.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said he has not received a FPN so far.

They also declined to say if Johnson believes coronavirus laws were broken after the first fines were issued last week.

"The Prime Minister wants to comment at the conclusion of the process and not at the middle of it,” the spokesperson said.

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