“It was an error of judgment"
Rishi Sunak has issued an apology after he removed his seatbelt to film a campaign video whilst in the back of a moving car.
It is believed the Prime Minister was in Lancashire when the video was filmed, during a trip across the north of England.
The video was posted to promote the government’s latest round of “levelling up” spending.
In the video, Mr Sunak addresses the camera while the car travels, with police motorbikes briefly appearing in the background.
However, it was pointed out that he was not wearing a seatbelt, leading to criticism.
Passengers caught failing to wear a seat belt when one is available, unless covered by a valid exemption, can be given an on-the-spot £100 fine.
The fine can increase to £500 if the case goes to court.
Social media users criticised the PM.
One said: “Back in the summer, I drove with no seat belt, yes I know stupid but I was driving 200m from a shop to my flat I was fined £60.
“So Rishi Sunak, why are you getting away with it? I accepted I broke the law and paid straight away. You should do the same. Criminal.”
MP Dawn Butler tweeted: “The one time he uses his ministerial car instead of the private jet he still manages to mess it up.
“They are lawbreakers it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. They don’t think the rules apply to them.”
Rishi Sunak has now apologised for his mistake.
His spokesperson said the PM made a “brief error of judgement”.
Mr Sunak – who was previously fined by police over a breach of Covid-19 rules – “fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises.”
The spokesperson 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.”
? | NEW: PM Rishi Sunak was NOT wearing a seatbelt in a video recorded in his Government car this morning pic.twitter.com/SOLn5YGnT7
— Politics UK ?? (@POLITlCSUK) January 19, 2023
Lancashire Police have said they are “looking into” the video.
Rishi Sunak has since been fined over the matter, being issued with a fixed penalty notice.
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.
Labour said the video added to “endless painful viewing” after Mr Sunak was seen struggling to use a contactless debit card.
A Labour spokesperson said: “Rishi Sunak doesn’t know how to manage a seatbelt, his debit card, a train service, the economy, this country.
“This list is growing every day, and it’s making for endless painful viewing.”
The incident followed criticism of the PM for travelling in an RAF jet for a series of official visits.
Mr 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.”