New British PM bans mobile phones at meetings

2010-05-14 12:24

Britain’s new prime minister, David Cameron, has banned the use of

mobile phones at cabinet meetings in a bid to ensure his top team stay focused

on the challenges facing them.

Chairing his first meeting of the cabinet Cameron told senior

ministers from his Conservative Party and their coalition partners, the Liberal

Democrats, that the distraction of mobiles would not be welcome.

The new team faces the daunting task of implementing public

spending cuts to reduce a record budget deficit while ensuring Britain stays on

the road to recovery following a deep recession.

British politicians have come to rely on mobile technology such as

BlackBerrys so much that parliamentary authorities now allow their use in the

House of Commons main debating chamber, albeit silently.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke became the first to break the

rule, drawing a rebuke from Cameron at the inaugural meeting of top


To laughter from the rest of the cabinet the prime minister ordered

him to cut short a telephone conversation so he could get down to the business

of running the country.

Cameron has not spared himself from the ban, added his


He brought his cabinet together for the first time yesterday after

forming a coalition government earlier in the week by striking a deal with the

Liberal Democrats following polls on May 6 that failed to produce a clear



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