London – He could have gotten away with it if only he hadn’t succumbed to the temptation to post a video on Instagram. This is how Lancashire Police discovered that the British Prime Minister was traveling in a taxi without a seat belt. And the fine started immediately, unless a favor is never done in such cases. Rishi Sunak must pay a hundred pounds, the penalty for such an omission.
No big deal, except that a head of government broke the law and this is the second fine in nine months. The first relates to a much more serious episode, the Partygate that brought down the government of his predecessor, Boris Johnson. Sunak was then still his chancellor and was the only one of his ministers to share with BoJo the shame of this sanction. This episode is certainly less serious and yesterday his deputy Dominic Raab stated that the incident did not necessitate his resignation. “The PM has shown he has the highest standards of integrity and reliability precisely because he admitted the mistake and immediately apologized – Raab said in an interview with Sky News – and quite frankly I don’t think this is a matter of resignation can be treated. Of course it shouldn’t have happened, he was wrong, but he recognized it immediately. He is a person with an extremely demanding job. But there are no excuses – Raab continued – the prime minister made it clear from the start. He said I did something wrong and I apologize. I think that’s proof of reliability and transparency.”
The incident was described by Downing Street as an “error of judgment” and Raab was then asked how many more errors of judgment Sunak was allowed to make. “In the end, the people will decide in the next elections, there are no algorithms, human nature doesn’t work that way,” was the reply. Certainly this frivolity allowed the opposition to attack the government by recalling the first of the fines imposed during the lockdown. “The fact that the Prime Minister has been hit by two sanctions in less than a year shows a lack of judgment in his behavior both as a minister and as leader of the Executive – underlined yesterday Labor No2 Angela Rayner – and I think so , he should take this opportunity to underline the importance of driving safety».
But Sunak is not the only Conservative to be fined. The day before, the newspapers had reported with great emphasis that the leader of the party, Nadhim Zahawi, had just agreed to pay a millionaire’s fine to the Treasury for not paying the taxes correctly. After a series of leaks about the amount paid, Zahawi, who is also the party’s former treasurer and still attends board meetings, decided to issue a press release stressing that the tax authorities recognized the non-payment as a “fault of negligence and not one.” intentional act. I chose to pay what was due because it was the right thing to do,” he said. However, according to opposition parties, this is not enough and Zahawi’s position is now “unsustainable”, as Labor Party leader Anneliese Dodds has said, calling for his resignation. In the government of fines, everyone remains firmly in place for the time being.