Ringtone rumbled our man with PM

I’M really going to have to sit down with Ipswich MP Ben Gummer and give him a masterclass in using new technology, specifically in the use of his Blackberry mobile phone.

I have a Blackberry myself, so I’m ideally placed to perform this vital task!

Most notably he needs to learn how to switch the phone to mute when he doesn’t want to be disturbed. Twice over the last few weeks I have apparently interrupted him at delicate moments.

The first time was when he was in a debate in the House of Commons. He didn’t get an official rebuke from The Speaker on that occasion, but there were some black looks from his colleagues.

Then on Friday I tried to contact him to get a copy of his speech before the Beacon Ipswich conference. I let the phone ring several times before it became clear that he wasn’t going to answer it.

When I saw him a little later I was told that he was at a meeting with the Prime Minister at the time of the call.

“The phone was in the bottom of my bag and I couldn’t find it. I was scrabbling about and in the end decided to let it ring – it’s the second time you’ve caused me problems,” he admonished me.

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Now I didn’t stop him from turning his phone on mute!

And Mr Gummer does, of course, have form when it comes to dealing with mobile phones. He got into a dispute with his phone provider shortly after being elected to Westminster and then had his phone stolen while on holiday last summer.

Maybe the time has come for him to find another way of staying in contact.

If we see a dovecote being installed on the roof of the MPs’ office block at Portcullis House, we’ll know he has invested in a homing pigeon!