Rishi Sunak fined for failing to wear seatbelt in social media video

Rishi Sunak fined for failing to wear seatbelt in social media video

Rishi Sunak has been fined by Lancashire Police 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 during a visit to the area to talk about Levelling Up funding.

It is the second fixed penalty notice for Mr Sunak; while chancellor, he was issued with a £50 ticket 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.

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”.

“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,” the spokesperson added.

Labour criticised 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.

A party spokesperson said: “Hapless Rishi Sunak's levelling-up photo op has blown up in his face and turned him into a laughing stock.

“He started the week hoping people would be grateful for a partial refund on the money that has been stripped from them over 13 years of the Tories. But instead he got a warring party and yet another fine from the police.

“Just when you thought this Tory government couldn't get any more ridiculous, they manage it.”

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 licence. 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.