The UK government's former ethics chief has confirmed she has paid a fine for a lockdown-busting party.

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

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

Ms MacNamara, who now works for the English Premier League, said: “I am sorry for the error of judgment I have shown. I have accepted and paid the fixed penalty notice.”

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 the Metropolitan Police.

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

The purpose of the role was to ensure the highest standards of propriety, 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.

Ms MacNamara’s decision to confirm her penalty comes as ministers sought to play down the impact of the partygate row on Mr Johnson’s leadership.

Cabinet minister Simon Hart said the “world has moved on” from the saga, while Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested Mr Johnson had not misled Parliament over the row because he had simply been repeating incorrect information provided to him by officials.

Meanwhile, No 10 still declined to say whether Mr Johnson believes coronavirus laws were broken.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister wants to comment at the conclusion of the process and not at the middle of it.”

Welsh Secretary Mr Hart said that “of course” the allegations of partying did not sit comfortably with him, but he dismissed calls that anyone should resign if they were issued with a penalty."

The leaving do in 70 Whitehall on June 18 2020 was reportedly held for 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 was for a photographer. They were later reported to have merged.

No 10 staff were said to have partied 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 revellers were said to have used a slide belonging to Mr and Mrs Johnson’s son, Wilfred.

It has also been suggested by ITV News that Mr 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 with fines.


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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.”

The Met is investigating 12 events, including as many as six that Mr Johnson 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 Mr Johnson 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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