Rishi Sunak has been fined for failing to wear a seatbelt while filming a social media clip in the back of a moving car.
The prime minister apologised for the “brief error of judgment” after the clip was posted to Instagram of him on a trip to Lancashire on Thursday to talk about leveling up funding.
Confirming the fine on Friday, Lancashire Police said: “You will be aware that a video has been circulating on social media showing an individual failing to wear a seat belt while a passenger in a moving car in Lancashire.
“After looking into this matter, we have today (Friday, January 20th) issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of fixed penalty.”
A No 10 spokesperson confirmed Mr Sunak would pay the fine and said he “fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised”.
On Thursday, A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister “believes everyone should wear a seatbelt”.
“It was an error of judgment, he removed it for a short period of time to film a clip, which you’ve seen, but he accepts that was a mistake,” his spokesman added.
It is not the first time Mr Sunak has been issued with a fine. During his time as chancellor, he was handed a £50 fixed-penalty notice for breaching Covid lockdown laws at one of the events that sparked the Partygate scandal. Reports at the time suggested Mr Sunak had to be “talked out” of resigning over the fine.
Labor criticized the video and said the clip added to the “endless painful viewing” of Mr Sunak after he was previously seen struggling to make a contactless payment with his card in a petrol station.
“Rishi Sunak doesn’t know how to manage a seatbelt, his debit card, a train service, the economy, this country,” a Labor spokeswoman said. “This list is growing every day, and it’s making for endless painful viewing.”
The AA also warned of the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt, adding: “No matter who you are it is important to wear your seatbelt when in the car.”
The prime minister’s fine comes as his own government has considered toughening seatbelt rules that could see drivers not wearing them receive penalty points on their license. Around 30 per cent of people killed in cars on Britain’s roads in 2021 were unrestrained, the latest figures show.
There are a few exemptions for failing to wear a belt, including when a car is being used for police, fire and rescue services and for certified medical issues.
Downing Street said it did not believe that traveling in a ministerial car was among the exemptions.
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