The British government’s former head of ethics has apologised for an “error of judgement” after she attended a party in Westminster when COVID-19 rules limited how many people could meet socially, leading to a police fine.
Helen MacNamara said she had paid the fine for attending a party which took place in offices at the heart of government while the rest of Britain was restricted from socialising in groups due to coronavirus regulations.
“I am sorry for the error of judgement I have shown. I have accepted and paid the fixed penalty notice,” she said in a statement late on Monday.
MacNamara was the government’s director general for propriety and ethics from 2018 to 2020, where she was in charge of advising all government departments on standards. She now works for the English Premier League.
British police have been investigating 12 possible COVID-19 rule-breaking gatherings, many held at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office and residence, including some attended by the prime minister himself.
MacNamara is the first person to confirm she paid a penalty in relation to the police investigation. She supplied a karaoke machine used at the party in 2020, where there was a drunken brawl, according to The Telegraph.
The police investigation into the rule breaking threatened Johnson’s position earlier this year when members of his own party began calling for him to quit and public trust in his leadership plummeted – although the focus on Ukraine has relieved some of the immediate pressure on him.