Rishi Sunak says he ‘deeply regrets’ failing to wear seatbelt

Rishi Sunak has said “I regret deeply” the decision not to wear a seatbelt last week while travelling as a passenger in a moving car.

Lancashire Constabulary on Friday announced it was fining the Prime Minister after he was spotted not wearing his seatbelt in an Instagram video filmed to promote levelling-up funding during a visit to the North West a day earlier.

Mr Sunak has agreed to pay the fine and No 10 issued an apology on his behalf last week.

Asked on Monday during a visit to Berrywood Hospital in Northampton whether he would personally apologise for not wearing a seatbelt, Mr Sunak said: “Yes, I regret not wearing a seatbelt.

“It was a mistake and that is why I apologised straight away.”

It is the second fixed penalty notice he has received in less than a year, which his critics have looked to capitalise on.

He paid one as chancellor, alongside Boris Johnson, as part of the police investigation into Downing Street parties held during the Covid pandemic.

Mr Sunak was handed the punishment after attending a lockdown-busting gathering to mark the then-prime minister’s birthday.

Last week he became the second prime minister in history, after Mr Johnson, to be given a police fine while in the top job.

Rishi Sunak instagram story
The Instagram video showed Rishi Sunak not wearing his seatbelt in a moving vehicle (rishisunakmp/Instagram/PA)

Asked on Monday whether the public could trust him as Prime Minister to follow the “laws of the land”, Mr Sunak replied: “Of course I do (follow the law).

“In this instance, I made a mistake which I regret deeply and that’s why I apologised straight away.”

Lancashire Constabulary did not reveal how much Mr Sunak was fined, but fixed penalty notices for seatbelt offences are usually £100, rising to up to £500 if taken to court.

A fixed penalty notice is a sanction for breaking the law which allows the recipient to pay a set amount to avoid going to court.

Labour said Mr Sunak demonstrated a “lack of judgment” over his decision not to wear a seatbelt, and the Liberal Democrats said it was an example of the Conservatives behaving “as though it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else”.