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Sunday June 23, 2024

‘Error of judgment’: UK PM Rishi Sunak in hot water for removing car seatbelt

Downing Street spokesperson says Rishi Sunak "fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises"

By AFP
January 20, 2023
Britains Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reacts during his visit to the Northern School of Art in Hartlepool, north east England on January 19, 2023. —AFP
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reacts during his visit to the Northern School of Art in Hartlepool, north east England on January 19, 2023. —AFP

LONDON: British police will be "looking into" a video in which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak can be seen riding in a car without a seatbelt -- an "error of judgment" for which he has apologised, according to Downing Street.

In Thursday’s video, produced for distribution on Sunak’s social media channels, the seatbeltless Conservative leader speaks from the back seat of a moving car about his policies for boosting growth during a trip to Lancashire in England’s north.

Failing to wear a seatbelt is punishable by a fine of up to 500 pounds ($619).

A Lancashire police spokesperson said authorities were "aware of the matter and we will be looking into it".

A spokesman for Downing Street said that Sunak "fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises".

"The prime minister believes everyone should wear a seatbelt," the spokesman added.

"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."

Sunak’s transportation habits had already been a talking point in the United Kingdom, with his political rivals taking aim at his use of a jet to make multiple short flights in recent days.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: "Rishi Sunak’s expensive private jet habit is costing the environment and the taxpayer dear."

A spokesperson, however, defended the decision, saying Sunak used "different modes of transport depending on what’s... the best use of his time to enable him to get around the entire UK".