, LONDON, December 9, 2014- A Tory MP caught playing a computer game during a meeting in Parliament is to escape punishment – but the whistleblower who exposed him could lose their job.
Nigel Mills admitted having a ‘game or two’ of Candy Crush and promised not to do it again after footage emerged of him playing on his taxpayer-funded iPad.
But while he will face no further action, the person who filmed him looks likely to lose their job after Commons authorities launched a mole hunt to find the culprit.
A Commons spokesman said the footage, taken over Mr Mills’ shoulder, broke parliamentary rules.
“This was a breach of the filming rules for House of Commons Committee Rooms, and will be investigated by the Serjeant at Arms,” the spokesman said.
Mr Mills, the MP for Amber Valley in Derbyshire, was supposed to be listening to experts give evidence at a meeting of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee last Monday.
However, he spent much of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting closely studying his iPad and swiping the screen as he tried to complete levels of the popular game.
Mr Mills, 40, who is defending a majority of just 536, apologised unreservedly for falling ‘short of what is expected of a Member of Parliament’.
He had initially said he would merely ‘try’ not to be diverted by the game again, but yesterday afternoon in a statement he said: “I guarantee it will not happen again. It is a fantastic privilege to represent Amber Valley and I hope constituents will continue to support my campaigns.”
Footage of the committee meeting shows a male and a female sound technician sitting behind Mr Mills who both appear to be using mobile phones, but it is not clear if one of them was responsible for filming him or whether another person off camera captured his gaming on film.
Commons rules state that: “No one should photograph, film or sketch or have their voice recorded anywhere within the Parliamentary Estate without permission.
“Anyone who attempts to do so, or to market, publish or transmit such material will be referred to Black Rod or the Serjeant at Arms. This could prejudice their future admission to the Houses of Parliament.”
Gail Dolman, a Labour councillor in his constituency, said: “I think it’s disgusting. He’s an MP and I find it very worrying.”
But David Cameron – himself a self-confessed games addict – described him as a hardworking MP.
“I know him well, he fights very hard in his constituency for people in Derbyshire, he works very hard in Parliament,’ the Prime Minister said. “I’m sure he will be embarrassed and he will work even harder in the future.”
Mr Cameron previously admitted to being addicted to mobile games Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds.
Asked what level the PM had reached on Candy Crush, his spokesman said: “On that line of questioning, Game Over.”
Tory MP Graham Evans, who was sitting next to Mr Mills, said he had not noticed him playing the game during the meeting.
He said: “We all look at our iPads. Perhaps we should all pay more attention. Nigel played a full part in that meeting, he is a bright lad.”
Sir Edward Leigh, Tory MP for Gainsborough, suggested critics should ‘get a life’.
“I survived nine years as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and I just about managed not to go to sleep and not to play computer games but my God, it was boring.” he told the BBC.
The Prime Minister, a fan of Apple’s trendy tablet computer, is said to be obsessed with the cult game Fruit Ninja, in which players swipe their fingers across a screen to slice through moving images of pieces of melon, orange and pineapple.
Mr Cameron is thought to have taken up Fruit Ninja after completing the hit game Angry Birds.
In a separate interview the Prime Minister admitted that he found Angry Birds ‘addictive’, but denied it was taking up too much of his time.
-By Daily Mail