Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab defends Rishi Sunak after PM slapped with fine for not wearing seatbelt

21 January 2023, 12:22 | Updated: 21 January 2023, 18:10

Rishi Sunak was fined for not wearing a seatbelt
Rishi Sunak was fined for not wearing a seatbelt. Picture: LBC/Twitter

By Kit Heren

The Deputy Prime Minister has defended Rishi Sunak after the PM was hit with a fine for not wearing

Mr Sunak was issued with a fixed penalty notice for not wearing a seatbelt while travelling in a moving car, Lancashire Police said on Friday evening.

His deputy Dominic Raab said on Saturday that the PM accepted the mistake and wanted to "crack on with... delivering for the country".

"I think it was inadvertent, he's put his hands straight up and said this was a mistake, he's very sorry about it, he's said he'll pay the fine, Mr Raab told LBC's Andrew Castle on Saturday. "It's an inadvertent mistake but these things shouldn't happen and I think the right thing to do is to put your hand up and say 'look this was wrong, it was a mistake and I'm sorry.'"

Dominic Raab says the PM will pay seatbelt fine

Police previously said they were "looking into" a video of the prime minister not wearing a seatbelt in the back of a moving car, which was filmed as part of a promotional video.

The Prime Minister will pay the fine issued by Lancashire Constabulary and "fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised", a No10 spokesperson said on Friday.

They said: "The Prime Minister fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised. He will of course comply with the fixed penalty."

Reacting to the prime minister's fine, Labour described Mr Sunak as "hapless" and a "laughing stock".

"Hapless Rishi Sunak's levelling up photo-op has blown up in his face and turned him into a laughing stock," said a spokesman.

"He started the week hoping people would be grateful for a partial refund on the money that has been stripped from them over 13 years of the Tories. But instead he got a warring party and yet another fine from the police.

"Just when you thought this Tory government couldn't get any more ridiculous, they manage it."

Rishi Sunak appears to not be wearing a seatbelt for IG video

The Prime Minister previously said sorry for taking off his seatbelt during the car ride to film the clip, with his spokesman saying it was a "brief error of judgement" and he "fully accepts this was a mistake".

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said today: "You will be aware that a video has been circulating on social media showing an individual failing to wear a seat belt while a passenger in a moving car in Lancashire.

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

Rishi Sunak Visits Lancashire
Rishi Sunak Visits Lancashire. Picture: Getty
Rishi Sunak Visits Lancashire And County Durham
Rishi Sunak Visits Lancashire And County Durham. Picture: Getty

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "Rishi Sunak is a total liability."

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: "Rishi Sunak has shown the same disregard for the rules as Boris Johnson, and now becomes the second ever Prime Minister to be fined by the police.

"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."

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It is the second time the prime minister has been handed a fixed-penalty notice (FPN) by police in nine months.

In April last year, Mr Sunak, who was Chancellor at the time, was fined for breaching lockdown rules, alongisde Boris Johnsons and his wife Carrie.

They are understood to have paid £50 each - a reduced rate as the fixed penalty notices were settled within 14 days.

After he was handed a FPN for breaching lockdown rules, Mr Sunak said: "I understand that for figures in public office, the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence.

"I respect the decision that has been made and have paid the fine.

"I know people sacrificed a great deal during Covid, and they will find this situation upsetting. I deeply regret the frustration and anger caused and I am sorry.

"Like the prime minister, I am focused on delivering for the British people at this challenging time."