UK prime minister fined after appearing to wear no seat belt in video


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will pay a fine for not wearing a seatbelt while filming a video to promote an economic program Friday.

The fine, issued by Lancashire Police to a “42-year-old man from London,” will cost around £100, or roughly $124 – pennies for a man who has a net-worth greater than that of the King of England. The fine can increase to £500, or roughly $620, should the case go to court. 

Sunak had visited Lancashire to film the video as part of a trip across the north of England. He was trying to promote the government’s latest spending bill, which aimed to help “level up” or improve facilities and infrastructure in key parts of the country. 

In the video, posted to Instagram, Sunak sits in the back of a car discussing how the government plans to spend its £2.1 billion fund, but eagle-eyed viewers couldn’t help noticing the prime minister wasn’t wearing a seat belt. 

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Representatives for the prime ministers told the BBC that Sunak “fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologized,” adding he would indeed pay the fine.  

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly session of Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament in London, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. 
(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told BBC Breakfast that Sunak “made a mistake on the seatbelt issue.” 

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Sunak has previously paid a fine for breaching COVID-19 lockdown rules after he attended a birthday gathering for then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Downing Street in June 2020. 

FILE: Then-British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks at a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020 in Washington. 

FILE: Then-British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks at a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020 in Washington. 
(Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP)

The multiple penalties, called “fixed penalty notices” in the U.K., must be paid within 28 days.

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“From partygate to seatbelt gate, these Conservative politicians are just taking the British people for fools,” Deputy Liberal Democrats Leader Daisy Cooper said of the video. “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.”

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street as he makes his way to the House of Commons, in London, on Monday.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street as he makes his way to the House of Commons, in London, on Monday.
(AP/Alberto Pezzali)

Conservative Party members of parliament (MPs) have defended their party leader: Scott Benton, a Conservative MP for Blackpool South, said that police should worry more about “tackling serious crime” rather than focusing on a “mistake.” 

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“Let’s keep this in proportion here. Every single year millions of Britons receive similar fixed penalty notices,” Benton said of the issue. 


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