Security minister Tom Tugendhat has been banned from driving for six months after he was caught using his phone behind the wheel.
The Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling claimed he was holding but “not using” his mobile.
The 49-year-old was stopped by police in his Skoda 4×4 in Wandsworth on 4 April.
Mr Tugendhat, a former Tory leadership hopeful who lives in Clapham, southwest London, appeared for sentencing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
MP was using maps
Geraldine Dickinson, prosecuting, told the court he was pulled over by police on Wandsworth High Street after an officer noticed his phone was in his left hand.
“He noticed that the driver was using a handheld phone,” she said.
“The device was being held in the driver’s left hand.
“He saw this in broad daylight for around 20 seconds.”
She said the officer confirmed Mr Tugendhat was not using the phone to call the emergency services.
“It was confirmed that they were using maps,” she said.
Paul Morris, defending, said his client accepted he would receive a driving ban.
He did not offer any mitigation of “exceptional hardship” that would be caused by Mr Tugendhat being banned from driving.
‘I would expect you to set a good example for the rest of us’
Judge Jack McGarva said using a mobile phone is a distraction.
“Using a mobile phone in any way is a distraction,” he said.
“Without any doubt, it impairs people’s ability to drive.
“I would expect you to set a good example for the rest of us.”
Mr Tugendhat received six penalty points on his driver’s licence for the offence, on top of the six he already had for two previous driving offences – leading to him being banned for six months.
As well as the driving ban, he received a £1,000 fine and was ordered to pay a surcharge of £100 and costs of £110.
MP claimed he was holding his phone but not using it
Mr Tugendhat, who joined the race to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister over the summer, admitted the offence earlier this month but claimed he was holding his phone and not using it.
In a written guilty plea to Bromley Magistrates’ Court, which heard the case in private under the single justice procedure, the politician said: “I was holding my phone – not using it.
“After the incident I took a course to refresh and correct my driving.
“I have included the result of the course. Please accept the course report.
“I accept my responsibility and recognise my culpability.”
The Metropolitan Police sent Mr Tugendhat a conditional offer of a fixed penalty notice in April, which Mr Tugendhat agreed to pay as well as surrender his driving licence, according to court papers. He also attended an advanced driving course in May, where he was assessed as low risk.