Saturday, January 21, 2023

‘Liability’ Sunak under fire after being handed a second fine by police

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Rishi Sunak has come under fire after a second fine as police imposed a stiff sentence on the prime minister for not wearing a seat belt in a moving car.

Downing Street said Mr Sunak “fully accepts that this was a mistake and has apologized” and that he will “of course” pay the fine.

Mr Sunak took office promising “integrity”, but critics accused him of showing “the same disregard for the rules” as his No 10 predecessor, Boris Johnson.

He is only the second Prime Minister in history to be slapped with a police fine while in the prime position after Mr Johnson was fined during the Partygate scandal.

It is also the second fixed fine Mr Sunak has received in less than a year after, as Chancellor, he paid one for attending a rally to break the lockdown to mark the birthday of then Prime Minister Mr Johnson.

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Lancashire Constabulary announced on Friday it would fine the Prime Minister after he was seen in an Instagram video shot to promote equalization of funding during a visit to Lancashire a day earlier, when he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

Police did not say what the fine was, but imposed fines for seatbelt infractions are normally £100 and rise to as much as £500 if brought to court.

Lancashire Police said: “You will know that there is video circulating on social media showing a person not wearing a seat belt as a passenger in a moving car in Lancashire.

“Following investigation into this matter, we have today issued a conditional offer of a fixed sentence to a 42-year-old man from London.”

A fine is a sanction for violating the law that allows the recipient to pay a specified amount of money to avoid a lawsuit.

Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner tweeted: “Rishi Sunak is a total liability.”

A Labor spokesman added: “Unfortunate Rishi Sunak’s photo op while leveling blew up on him and turned him into a laughingstock.

“He started the week hoping people would be grateful for a partial refund of money taken from them in 13 years of Tories. But instead he got a war party and another fine from the police.”

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said: “Rishi Sunak flouted the rules as much as Boris Johnson and is now the second Prime Minister to be fined by police.

“From Partygate to Seatbelt Gate, these Conservative politicians just think the British people are stupid.

“While they continue to behave as if it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else, this fine is a reminder that Conservatives will eventually get their compensation.”

The fine caps a tough week for Mr Sunak, who has been criticized for using a jet for a series of domestic trips and has faced allegations that the allocation of funds to equalize was motivated by an attempt to block support in the strengthen southern Tory seats.

He is also facing demands to have Nadhim Zahawi dismissed Tory party leader says he has paid a fine to HMRC as part of a multi-million pound tax settlement.

In his first speech outside Downing Street, Mr Sunak pledged “integrity, professionalism and accountability at all levels” after Mr Johnson was forced out of office following a series of scandals.

But the youngest resident of No 10 has been plagued by his own controversies from day one, from criticism of Suella Braverman’s reinstatement as Home Secretary just six days after she was forced to resign over a security breach, to an ongoing one Bullying Inquiry Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab.

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