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Immigration minister Liam Byrne has been fined for using his mobile phone while driving.

Byrne was fined £100 and had three points put on his licence, bringing his total to six. He must also pay £35 in costs. The MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill pleaded guilty by letter and said he was taking an important call on a deportation matter but there was no excuse and he was sorry, the Beeb reports.

He was caught in July in Birmingham.

The British ban on using mobile phones while driving unless you have a hands-free kit came into force in December 2003, and a Scottish woman was the first to fall foul of the law. A survey in 2004 found one in ten drivers routinely flouting the ban.

Byrne wants to be careful not to gain any more points. In August he made controversial comments about the skills, or lack thereof, of taxi drivers. This did not make him many friends among London's black cab drivers who have to pass "the Knowledge" - which requires them to memorise 320 different routes and most of the streets within six miles of Charing Cross.

The BBC story is here.

A University of London study found London cabbies had a larger hippocampus, the area of the brain devoted to navigation, than ordinary mortals. More, as pdf, here. ®

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