Rishi Sunak fined by police for not wearing seatbelt in moving car

Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana reports on the PM's second fixed penalty notice

Rishi Sunak has been given a fixed penalty notice for not wearing a seatbelt while filming a social media video in the back of a moving car, police have said.

The prime minister previously apologised for the “brief error of judgment” as he carried out a series of visits in Lancashire on Thursday.

Mr Sunak was spotted not wearing his seatbelt in an Instagram video he filmed to promote levelling-up funding during a visit to Lancashire.

Failing to wear a seatbelt in a moving car is an offence which can be punished with fines of up to £500.

ITV News Political Correspondent Shehab Khan reports on the fine

In a statement, Lancashire Constabulary 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."

It is the prime minister's second fine. He was fined last year in relation to a birthday celebration he and Boris Johnson attended on June 19, 2020 - a party first reported by ITV News in January - when he was chancellor.

On Thursday, a Downing Street spokesman said Mr Sunak “fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises”.

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

“The prime minister believes everyone should wear a seatbelt,” the spokesman said.“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.”

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 there is an exception for travelling in a ministerial car.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “Rishi Sunak is a total liability.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “Rishi Sunak has shown the same disregard for the rules as Boris Johnson, and now becomes the second ever prime minister to be fined by the police.

“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.”

The seatbelt error came on top of a series of challenges for Mr Sunak that included criticism of him using a jet for a series of domestic trips and accusations that allocations of levelling up funding were motivated by an attempt to shore up support in southern Tory seats.

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