British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has reportedly been fined for not wearing a seatbelt in a moving car while filming a social media video.
Lancashire Police said it had issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of a fixed penalty, according to the BBC.
No 10 said that Mr. Sunak “fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised”, adding that he would pay the fine.
Passengers caught failing to wear a seat belt when one is available can be fined £100.
This can increase to £500 if the case goes to court.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said Sunak was “someone with the highest standards of integrity” who had “made a mistake on the seatbelt issue”.
Mr. Raab said the PM was “a human being doing a demanding job” and had “put his hands straight up” and apologised.
The Prime Minister was in Lancashire when the video was filmed, during a trip across the north of England.
The video – to promote the government’s latest round of latest round of “levelling up” spending – was posted on Sunak’s Instagram account.
It is the second time Sunak has received a fixed penalty notice while in government.
Last April, he was fined along with then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson and wife Carrie for breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules – by attending a birthday gathering for Mr. Boris Johnson in Downing Street in June 2020.
Fixed penalty notices are a sanction for breaking the law, and mean a fine, which needs to be paid within 28 days, or contested.
If someone chooses to contest the fine, the police will then review the case and decide whether to withdraw the fine or take the matter to court.
The Labour Party had said that it would be “very serious” if Sunak was to be fined, having already had to pay a fixed-penalty notice while he was Chancellor during the Partygate scandal.
Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said in a tweet that Sunak was a “total liability”.
A Labour Party spokesperson added: “Hapless Rishi Sunak’s levelling-up photo op has blown up in his face and turned him into a laughingstock.”
Labour said that Sunak’s video added to “endless painful viewing” after he was seen struggling to make a contactless payment with his card last year.
“Rishi Sunak doesn’t know how to manage a seat belt, his debit card, a train service, the economy, this country,” a spokeswoman said.
“This list is growing every day, and it’s making for endless painful viewing.”
The incident followed criticism of the Prime Minister for travelling in an RAF jet for a series of official visits on Thursday.
Sunak made the 230-mile journey to Blackpool from London in the plane, before later flying 120 miles to Darlington.
Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said: “It seems like the PM is getting too used to flying around in private jets that he’s forgotten to wear a seat belt in a car.”
The Liberal Democrats said that, in becoming the second ever serving Prime Minister to be fined by police, he had “shown the same disregard for the rules as Boris Johnson”.
Deputy Liberal Democrats leader Daisy Cooper said: “From partygate to seatbelt gate, these Conservative politicians are just taking the British people for fools.
“Whilst they continue to behave as though it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else, this fine is a reminder that the Conservatives eventually get their comeuppance.”
But Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Blackpool South Scott Benton defended Sunak, saying “everybody makes mistakes”.
Mr. Benton said that the police should focus on “tackling serious crime in our communities”, adding: “Let’s keep this in proportion here. Every single year millions of Britons receive similar fixed penalty notices.”
Benton suggested the Lancashire force were wasting their time by looking into the incident.
He said: “The vast majority of people would think that politically motivated complaints about a seatbelt are not good use of frontline resources.
“Their time is better spent investigating serious crime which impacts on my constituents.”
Passengers aged 14 and over are responsible for ensuring they wear a seat belt in cars, vans and other goods vehicles if one is fitted.
Drivers are responsible for passengers under 14.
Exemptions include having a doctor’s certificate for a medical reason, or being in a vehicle used for a police, fire or other rescue service.
Those who are fined for not wearing a seat belt cannot currently be given penalty points on their licence, except in Northern Ireland.
But in October, Transport Minister Katherine Fletcher said the government was considering introducing penalty points in England.
“In 2021, in 30 per cent of all car occupant fatalities recorded, seat belts were not worn. This is unacceptably high,” she reportedly told Labour MP Barry Sheerman.
-All Rights Reserved-
Permission to use any material, including text, still photograph, audio and video from this site is granted subject to permission being formally sought and, if granted, appropriate credit must duly be given to The News Room as the source.