Rishi Sunak appears to ride in car without wearing a seatbelt
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been given a fixed penalty notice for not wearing a seatbelt as a passenger in a moving car. Mr Sunak filmed committed the offence while filming a video for his Instagram promoting levelling-up in Lancashire. Yet over a quarter of Express.co.uk readers think he should not have been fined, a new poll has found.
Lancashire Police 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 issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of fixed penalty.”
Passengers failing to wear a seatbelt when one is available can be fined £100, which needs to be paid within 28 days or contested. If the case is taken to court it can increase to £500.
A spokesperson for 10 Downing Street said: “The Prime Minister fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised. He will of course comply with the fixed penalty.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said Mr Sunak had the “highest standards of integrity” and should not resign, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He’s a human being doing an incredibly demanding job. But that’s no excuse, as he’s made clear, and he’s put his hand up and said: ‘This is wrong and I’m apologising for it’. I think that’s the accountability and that’s the transparency.”
Conservative MP for Blackpool South Scott Benton defended Mr Sunak, saying “everybody makes mistakes”. He added that the police should focus on “tackling serious crime in our communities”.
However, Mr Sunak has been criticised by the opposition for receiving a second fixed penalty notice after being issued a fine by the Metropolitan Police in April last year, while serving as Chancellor, for breaching lockdown rules during the partygate scandal.
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “Hapless Rishi Sunak’s levelling-up photo op has blown up in his face and turned him into a laughing stock.”
Meanwhile, Daisy Cooper, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats said: “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.”
In a poll that ran from 4pm on Friday, January 20, to 8.30am on Monday, January 23, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should Rishi Sunak be fined for not wearing his seatbelt?”
Overall, 2,236 readers cast their votes with the majority, 72 percent (1,617 people) answering “yes” in support of the Prime Minister being fined.
Whereas 27 percent (608 people) said “no” he should not have been fined, and a further 11 people said they did not know either way.
Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers discussed Mr Sunak’s offence.
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Most readers were in support of Mr Sunak receiving a fixed penalty notice for not wearing his seatbelt. Username Strong like bull said: “He broke the law and should be treated like everyone else.”
Similarly, username Duncan 1992 wrote: “Of course, he should be fined for it, just like anyone else not wearing a seat belt should. There’s no excuse. It’s such an easy and simple thing.”
Another, username uncivilservant, said: “Of course he should. He is the Prime Minister, and the head of the legislative body of this country. If he breaks the law and is not punished accordingly then what legitimacy does that law hold for any other citizen?”
And username Grimreaper added: “Definitely, they should make an example of him, he is not above the law.”
However, some readers thought that Mr Sunak should not be punished for his actions, with username Shazbaz commenting that it was “an absolute waste of time”.
Username BobArter said: “No of course he shouldn’t. It is nothing more than a motoring offence.”
And username RY28 said: “The police should be using their limited time and resources pursuing real criminals and not engage in cheap political point scoring.”
Trustee of the road safety charity Brake, Joanna Bailey, said that not wearing a seatbelt was “very dangerous”. The Department for Transport figures show 30 percent of people killed in cars on Britain’s roads in 2021 were not wearing a seatbelt.
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