Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey felt the wrath of speaker John Bercow yesterday after being told off for using her phone in the House of Commons.
The Conservative MP, whose constituency includes Framlingham and Dennington, was told by the speaker: “Put the device away, and if you don’t want to put it away, get out of the house.”
The intervention came as Labour’s Heidi Alexander, the Shadow Health Secretary, addressed Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Hunt was criticised by the speaker with Dr Coffey, who is also Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, for “fiddling ostentatiously” with their mobile phones.
He said the pair were being “rank discourteous.”
MPs may use mobile phones in the House of Commons — so long as they are not “impairing parliamentary decorum.”
Mr Bercow told the MPs: “I do very gently say to the Secretary of State and indeed to the Deputy Leader of the House that to sit on the bench while these matters are being debated is one thing, particularly in the case of the Secretary of State, rather than to participate.
“But to sit there fiddling ostentatiously with an electronic device defies the established convention of the House that such devices should be used, and I remind members, without impairing parliamentary decorum.
“They are impairing parliamentary decorum and in very simple terms are being rank discourteous to the Shadow Secretary of State and to the House.
“It’s a point so blindingly obvious that only an extraordinarily clever and sophisticated person could fail to grasp it.”
Put the device away, and if you don’t want to put it away, get out of the houseSpeaker of the House, John Bercow
Dr Coffey received a second telling off from the speaker after continuing to use her phone.
“I am simply telling her it is discourteous to behave like that, a point that most people would readily understand.”