Rishi Sunak fined by Lancashire Police for failing to wear seatbelt while filming social media clip

Rishi Sunak fined by Lancashire Police for failing to wear seatbelt while filming social media clip

Rishi Sunak says he will pay fine issued by Lancashire Police for failing to wear a seatbelt while filming social media clip in his car as he ‘fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises’

Rishi Sunak has said he will pay the fine issued by Lancashire Police for failing to wear a seatbelt while filming a social media clip in his car as he ‘fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises’.

Downing Street previously said the Prime Minister had made a ‘brief error of judgment’ by removing the safety device.

Mr Sunak was spotted not wearing his seatbelt in an Instagram video he filmed to promote levelling-up funding when he visited Lancashire yesterday. 

Lancashire Constabulary said a 42-year-old man from London was issued with a conditional offer of fixed penalty following a video circulating on social media showing a passenger not wearing a seatbelt in a moving car in the county. 

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 

Lancashire Constabulary said a 42-year-old man from London was issued with a conditional offer of fixed penalty following a video circulating on social media

Lancashire Constabulary said a 42-year-old man from London was issued with a conditional offer of fixed penalty following a video circulating on social media

A No10 spokesperson said: ‘The Prime Minister fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised. 

What are Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)?

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) have been around for more than 50 years and are used for a wide range of anti-social behaviour offences, public disorder offences and environmental offences such as littering as well as for many motoring offences.

An FPN is a conditional offer – you can accept guilt, pay the fine, take the points and the matter will be closed, or you can reject the offer in which case you’ll be summonsed to appear in court.

For drivers, FPNs are widely used to enforce ‘moving traffic offences’ like:

  • Speeding
  • Traffic light offences
  • Restricted turns
  • No entry, and
  • Box junctions

 Source: AA

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‘He will of course comply with the fixed penalty.’ 

In a statement, the force said: ‘You will be aware that a video has been circulating on social media showing an individual failing to wear a seatbelt while a passenger in a moving car in Lancashire.

‘After looking into this matter, we have today (Friday, January 20) issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of fixed penalty.’

The law states that car users must wear a seatbelt if one is fitted in their seat, with only a few exceptions.

A fine of up to £500 can be issued if someone does not wear a seatbelt.

A Downing Street spokesman said yesterday: ‘That was a brief error of judgment. The Prime Minister removed his seatbelt to film a short clip.’

Mr Sunak ‘fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises’, the spokesman added.

‘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.’

Mr Sunak flew to Blackpool yesterday morning before visiting Accrington and Morecambe, although it is unclear at what point in his journey he filmed the social media clip.

At one point in his Instagram video, police outriders on motorbikes can be seen through Mr Sunak’s passenger window.

The PM used the clip to encourage users to follow his progress on his trip to northern England as he went ‘out and about seeing Levelling Up in action’. 

Mr Sunak gave a blunt response when he was quizzed on the potential for reductions soon

Mr Sunak gave a blunt response when he was quizzed on the potential for reductions soon

On his visit to Morecambe, Mr Sunak defied Tory calls for tax cuts in the Budget, suggesting only idiots think the burden can fall quickly after Covid and the Ukraine war.

The PM gave a blunt response when he was quizzed on the potential for reductions soon – and also swiped at James Dyson after the billionaire launched a brutal attack on the government’s ‘short-sighted’ and ‘stupid’ policies.

Sunak defends using RAF jet to go 250 miles to Blackpool 

Rishi Sunak yesterday defended his use of an RAF jet to fly 250 miles to northern England amid accusations the Prime Minister was behaving like an ‘A-list celebrity’.

As he embarked on a tour of northern England to promote Government help for deprived areas, Mr Sunak flew from RAF Northolt, north west London, to Blackpool.

His choice of a posh jet reserved for VIPs this morning was the third time he had used an RAF aircraft in the past 10 days.

All three of those journeys have been to parts of Britain with mainline train links to London.

He last week flew to Edinburgh to see Nicola Sturgeon and also used a jet to travel to Leeds to visit an NHS unit for a photo op.

Appearing at a Q&A event in Morecambe yesterday afternoon to promote the latest allocations from the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ fund, the PM was quizzed about his choice of plane travel at taxpayers’ expense. 

‘I travel around so I can do lots of things in one day, I’m not travelling around just for my own enjoyment – although this is very enjoyable, of course,’ Mr Sunak said.

‘I’m travelling around so I can talk to people in Accrington this morning, then I’ve talked to you, then I’m going to get over to Hartlepool because I’m working on all of your behalves.

‘Trust me, I’m working as hard as I can to deliver for you and I travel to make myself as effective as possible.’ 

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Asked on a visit to Morecambe whether he will cut taxes, Mr Sunak said: ‘I’m a Conservative, I want to cut your taxes … I wish I could do that tomorrow, quite frankly, but the reason we can’t is because of all the reasons you know. 

‘You’re not idiots, you know what’s happened.’

He said the pandemic and the war in Ukraine had left the public finances ‘not where it needs to be’.

Mr Sunak said ‘it takes a bit of work to get there’ but he vowed to make the economy stronger so the NHS and schools can be funded, secure lower interest rates and get a ‘grip of’ inflation.

‘Trust me, that’s what I’m going to do for you this year, that’s what we’re going to do while I’m Prime Minister and if we do those things we will be able to cut your taxes,’ he added.

Mr Sunak also pointed to the ‘super-deduction’ – which allows companies to invest large sums tax-free – saying he would like to hear from Sir James whether any other country was offering anything similar.   

Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have been scrambling to bring in revenue since the Downing Street handover last October, insisting their priority is to stabilise the government finances in the wake of the disastrous Liz Truss meltdown.

However, there is disquiet on Conservative benches there seems to be no prospect of tax cuts at the Budget in March.

MailOnline understands there is instead a Cabinet push for Mr Hunt to ease the eye-watering burden on Brits by the Autumn, with fears it could be the only ‘narrow path’ to the Tories winning the next election. 

Asked whether Mr Sunak viewed people who wanted tax cuts as ‘idiots’, a Downing Street spokesman said: ‘He didn’t call anybody an idiot and he himself set out his ambitions to reduce the tax burden over time.

‘He said that the worst thing he could do is make promises he can’t keep and saddle a country with more debt.

‘And he set out once again that his overall ambition is to reduce tax. But that needs to be when we have when we have economic stability and inflation’s come down.’

Mr Sunak came to office promising ‘integrity’ after the scandals that eventually forced Boris Johnson from office. 

In his first speech outside Downing Street, he pledged ‘integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level’. 

Mr Sunak came to office promising 'integrity' after the scandals that eventually forced Boris Johnson from office

Mr Sunak came to office promising ‘integrity’ after the scandals that eventually forced Boris Johnson from office

But Mr Sunak's eventual entry into Downing Street, after the short-lived and chaotic tenure of Liz Truss, was hailed as a welcome return to stability

But Mr Sunak’s eventual entry into Downing Street, after the short-lived and chaotic tenure of Liz Truss, was hailed as a welcome return to stability

Those words raised hopes of an administration free from the kinds of controversy and accusations of sleaze that undermined Mr Johnson. 

His premiership, cut short by his handling of the Chris Pincher controversy, had already been damaged by the ‘partygate’ row and the ongoing House of Commons Privileges Committee investigation into whether he misled the House. 

Mr Sunak was caught up in partygate too, receiving a fine alongside Mr Johnson from the Metropolitan Police for attending a gathering to mark the then-PM’s 56th birthday – in spite of the coronavirus restrictions in place. 

But Mr Sunak’s eventual entry into Downing Street, after the short-lived and chaotic tenure of Liz Truss, was hailed as a welcome return to stability. 

‘Boring is back’, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove quipped shortly after Mr Sunak became prime minister. 

But the latest inhabitant of Downing Street has been plagued by his own set of controversies from day one, from criticism for reinstating Suella Braverman as Home Secretary just six days after she was forced to step down over a security breach to an ongoing bullying inquiry into the Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab. 

A second, and separate, police fine only adds to the woes of Mr Sunak, who has been in office since October and, according to polls, will struggle to remain in the office after the next general election. 

The Prime Minister apologised for what Downing Street called an ‘error of judgement’, but it has already been seized on by opposition parties. 

Labour had said it would be ‘very serious’ if Mr Sunak was to receive a second fine. 

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Jonathan Rose

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