UK Police 'Looking Into' PM Rishi Sunak Not Wearing Seatbelt in Moving Car While Filming Video
Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, found himself in hot water after he filmed a brief video for social media on January 19 while seated in the back of a moving car during a trip to Lancashire to promote his allocation of levelling up funding.
Rishi Sunak has been accused by UK opposition parties of breaking a basic law, while the police are “looking into the matter" of the prime minister spotted failing to fasten his seatbelt inside a moving car.
Sunak was filming a social media video on January 19 in the back of the vehicle during a visit to Lancashire to defend the government’s latest allocation of levelling up money across the country. In the footage, police motorbikes are visible as they escort the car of the PM, who appeared to have removed his seatbelt.
© Photo : TwitterTwitter screenshot.
© Photo : Twitter
In accordance with Rule 99 of the Highway Code, seatbelts must be worn in cars, vans and other goods vehicles if thet are fitted with them. £500 ($618.7) is the current maximum fine for not wearing a seatbelt, with exemptions applied in instances when the vehicle was being used for police, fire, rescue services, or certified medical issues.
Furthermore, the British government has been mulling driving law changes which could see both drivers and passengers receive penalty points on their licences if they do not use a seatbelt. In November 2022, the need for such changes was argued by MPs in the House of Commons, after data showed that in 2021, seatbelts were not worn in 30 percent of all car fatalities recorded.
When asked to comment on the incident involving Rishi Sunak, Lancashire Police were cited as saying: "We are aware of the matter and we will be looking into it."
After the clip generated censure, Downing Street conceded that the prime minister had made a “brief error of judgment” by removing the safety device. Rishi Sunak, according to the No 10 spokesman, “fully accepts this was a mistake and apologizes.”
“The Prime Minister believes everyone should wear a seatbelt,” the spokesman added.
4 January, 15:57 GMT
Opposition parties were quick to weigh in, denouncing the UK PM for poor management across the board.
"Rishi Sunak doesn't know how to manage a seatbelt, his debit card, a train service, the economy, this country," a Labour spokeswoman said, emphasizing that, "This list is growing every day, and it's making for endless painful viewing."
A source for Britain's Liberal Democrats added that Sunak "might be a different Conservative prime minister, but he certainly has the same old disregard for the rules."
“It seems like the PM is getting too used to flying around in private jets that he’s forgotten to wear a seatbelt in a car. The fact he’s breaking a basic law is just embarrassing and frankly dangerous," Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said.
The remark was a nod to the recent flak the PM had gotten for flying on an RAF jet from Northolt in west London to Blackpool Airport instead of taking a train. The Labour party accused Sunak of "jetting around the country on taxpayers' money like an A-list celeb."
Downing Street insisted that taking a plane ensured "the best use" of the PM's time.
21 December 2022, 07:45 GMT