Security Minister Tom Tugendhat has been banned from driving for six months after he was caught holding his cellphone while behind the wheel.
The Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling was stopped by police in his Skoda 4×4 in Wandsworth on 14 April.
Mr Tugendhat, who lives in Clapham, southwest London, appeared for a sentencing hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday wearing a blue tie and dark blue suit.
Geraldine Dickinson, the prosecution, told the court he was stopped by police on Wandsworth High Street after an officer noticed he was holding the phone in his left hand.
“He noticed the driver was using a mobile phone,” he said.
“The device was held in the driver’s left hand.
“He saw this in broad daylight for about 20 seconds.”
He said the officer confirmed Mr Tugendhat was not using the phone to call emergency services.
“It was confirmed they were using the maps,” he said.
Paul Morris, in defense, said his client agreed he would receive a driving ban.
He offered no mitigation of the “exceptional hardships” that would be caused by the driving ban in Tugendhat.
Judge Jack McGarva said using a cell phone is a distraction.
“Using a cell phone in any way is a distraction,” he said.
“It definitely affects people’s ability to drive.
“I expect you to set a good example for all of us.”
Mr Tugendhat received six penalty points on his driving license for the offence, added to the six he already had for two previous driving offences, resulting in him being banned for six months.
In addition to the driving ban, the safety minister received a £1,000 fine.
He was also ordered to pay a £100 supplement and costs of £110.
Mr Tugendhat, who previously ran for Conservative Party leader, admitted to the offense earlier this month, but said he was holding his phone but not using it.
In a written guilty plea to Bromley Magistrates’ Court, which heard the case privately under the single justice procedure, the politician said: “I was holding my phone, I wasn’t using it.
“After the accident I took a course to refresh and correct my driving.
“I have included the course result. Please accept the course report.
“I accept my responsibility and acknowledge my guilt.”
In April, the Metropolitan Police sent Mr. Tugendhat a conditional offer of a fixed penalty and Mr. Tugendhat agreed to pay the fine and surrender his driver’s license, according to court documents.
He also took an advanced driving course in May, where he was rated as low-risk.
But the offense was sent back to court to be prosecuted due to the six penalty points already on his driving record.