U.K. PM Rishi Sunak apologises for removing car seat belt

“That was a brief error of judgement.. The PM fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises about it,” says Mr. Sunak’s spokesperson.

January 20, 2023 10:20 am | Updated 10:38 am IST - London

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. File photo

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. File photo | Photo Credit: AFP

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has apologised for a “brief error of judgment” in removing his seat belt to film a social media video while driving to a destination in north-west England.

Mr. Sunak’s Downing Street spokesperson on Thursday said he had only briefly removed his seat belt and admits he made a mistake.

In the UK, passengers caught failing to wear a seatbelt while in a car, unless covered by a valid medical exemption, can be given an on-the-spot fine of 100 pounds, increasing to 500 pounds if the case goes to court.

"That was a brief error of judgement. The PM removed his seat belt to film a small clip. He fully accepts this was a mistake and apologises about it," Mr. Sunak's spokesperson said.

"The Prime Minister believes everyone should wear a seat belt," the spokesperson added.

Mr. Sunak filmed a video to promote his government's new Levelling Up Fund announcements to fund over 100 projects around the country. Police motorbikes could be seen escorting his car as he addressed the camera.

‘Endless painful viewing,’ says Labour Party

The Opposition Labour Party said the latest incident added to "endless painful viewing" after a previous video appeared to show Mr. Sunak struggling to make a contactless payment with his card.

"Rishi Sunak doesn't know how to manage a seat belt, his debit card, a train service, the economy, this country. This list is growing every day, and it's making for endless painful viewing," a Labour spokesperson said.

It came at the end of a day during which he also came under Opposition fire for using a Royal Air Force (RAF) jet to fly to the north of the country. Downing Street insisted the use of the aircraft was to ensure the best use of the Prime Minister’s time.

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