Tory MPs will 'sign away our democracy' if Boris isn't sacked, says ex-Thatcher advisor

4 April 2022, 19:45 | Updated: 4 April 2022, 19:48

By Sophie Barnett

Conservative MPs will be "signing away our democracy" if they don't oust Boris Johnson if he is issued a fine over the Partygate scandal, a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher has told LBC.

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Caroline Slocock told LBC's Tonight With Andrew Pierce that Tory MPs must "look to their conscience" if the Prime Minister receives a fixed penalty notice over his attendance at Downing Street parties.

She said the Government's former ethics chief, Helen MacNamara, has been used as a scapegoat and claims this is Mr Johnson's "strategy".

Ms MacNamara, who no longer works for the civil service, has issued an apology for her "error of judgement" after being fined by the Met over the Partygate scandal.

She said she has paid the fine she was handed, reportedly in connection with a leaving do held in the Cabinet Office on June 18 2020 to mark the departure of a private secretary.

Read more: Govt's former ethics chief pays Partygate fine and apologises for 'error of judgement'

Ms Slocock told Andrew it's "not fair" to just point the finger at Ms MacNamara.

"She conveniently has left the civil service, so cannot resign," Ms Slocock said.

"It is obviously not just Helen's fault and it would be quite wrong to kind of just simply hang her out to dry and leave the Prime Minister untouched. And I think that's his strategy."

She added that Mr Johnson is "indenial" and says if he were to be fined he must be ousted from his leadership role.

She claimed: "If they don't do anything then they are potentially signing away our democracy, because if you lower a standard like this then it's not just Boris Johnson it's future prime ministers who potentially won't care, and won't be held to account if they don't tell the truth to the British public, and parliament.

"It just erodes democracy."

Ms Slocock, who is director of Civil Exchange think tank, said the Partygate scandal would be "utterly inconceivable" under the reign of Margaret Thatcher.

"The culture she set was one where it was incredibly important to show leadership to the country," she said.

"We knew that we were acting on behalf of the Prime Minister, and so everything we did reflected on her. We all behaved, as you would expect of a Prime Minister's office with integrity, with professionalism, with respect for the law at all times."

Ms MacNamara, who used to be the deputy cabinet secretary, was among the first group 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 she received a £50 fine on Friday.

Ms MacNamara was the director general of propriety and ethics in the Cabinet Office from 2018 to 2020 and left Government to work for the Premier League.

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