26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Former ethics chief gets Partygate fine

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A former senior United Kingdom Public Servant has reportedly been fined by the police for attending a karaoke party during the COVID-19 lockdown at a time when she was responsible for ethics and standards in Government.

Helen MacNamara, who was Director General for Propriety and Ethics at the Cabinet Office at the time of the lockdown breach, is believed to be in one of the first groups of people to receive fines over the so-called Partygate Scandal.

Ms MacNamara (pictured) is reported to have received a £50 ($A86.39) fine after police found she broke COVID laws by attending a leaving party for then Private Secretary at Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s Office, Hannah Young on 18 June, 2020.

The karaoke party took place in then Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill’s office at 70 Whitehall.

At the time, indoor gatherings were banned and people were advised to not sing in public.

Fines are also believed to have been issued to attendees at an event in April 2021 on the eve of Prince Phillip’s funeral.

All told, the Metropolitan Police are investigating 12 parties involving officials that allegedly took place when COVID restrictions were in place in 2020 and 2021.

The event attended by Ms MacNamara on 18 June was “raucous”, according to reports, with claims the party continued until around 3am and that there was a drunken spat between two of the guests.

Sir Mark, and then Senior Adviser to Mr Johnson, Dominic Cummings reportedly attended the party early on in the evening.

Ms MacNamara’s propriety and ethics role at the time was to ensure the highest standards of propriety, integrity and governance within Government.

During her time in the role, she investigated allegations of bullying by Minister at the Home Office, Priti Patel and the row over Mr Johnson’s flat refurbishment at 10, Downing Street.

Ms MacNamara left the Public Service in January 2021 to take up a job as Director of Policy and Corporate Affairs at the Premier Football League.

London, 5 April 2022

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