So who secretly filmed Tory MP playing Candy Crush on his iPad during pensions hearing? Parliament launches security probe
- Nigel Mills was supposed to be listening to pensions experts give evidence
- Instead he was playing wildly popular touchscreen game Candy Crush
- He said: ‘There was a bit of the meeting that I wasn’t focusing on and I probably had a game or two’
- Mr Mills used his taxpayer-funded iPad, paid for to help him with work
- Whistleblower could be expelled from Parliament after leaking pictures
- Two people sat behind him but the person could have been off camera
- David Cameron enjoys game of Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja away from work
- He said: ‘I haven’t spoken to Nigel. But I’m sure he is very embarrassed’
The whistleblower who caught a Tory MP playing popular puzzle game Candy Crush on his taxpayer-funded iPad is today being hunted by the head of Commons security.
Nigel Mills was forced to admit to having a ‘game or two’ while he was supposed to be listening to experts give evidence at a meeting of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee last Monday.
The MP for Amber Valley in Derbyshire was spotted closely studying his iPad and swiping the screen with his finger as he attempted to complete levels of popular app the Candy Crush Saga.
Footage of the meeting shows at least two people sat behind Mills but it is not clear if one of them was responsible or whether another person off camera captured his gaming on film.
Caught in the act: This is Tory MP Nigel Mills playing Candy Crush on his taxpayer-funded iPad last Monday during a crucial committee hearing on the future of pensions
Distracted: The MP for Amber Valley in Derbyshire was spotted closely studying his iPad and swiping the screen with his finger as he attempted to complete levels of popular app the Candy Crush Saga
Could one of these be the Candy Crush whistleblower? Footage shows these two people were alternately sitting behind the MP – although it is possible the incident was filmed by someone hidden from view
Today he apologised ‘unreservedly’ for spending up to two-and-a-half hours playing the game on his iPad because ‘it fell short of what is expected of a Member of Parliament’.
But while he will face no further action the person who filmed him could be banned from Parliament for ‘taking images without permission’ after the Serjeant at Arms launched an investigation.
Mr Mills, 40, was elected the MP for Amber Valley, Derbyshire, in 2010, but only has a majority of 536.
David Cameron, who is known to enjoy iPad games, said today: ‘I haven’t spoken to Nigel Mills, but I’m sure he is very embarrassed’.
Last night Mr Mills admitted to having a ‘game or two’ during a section of the ‘long’ meeting he ‘wasn’t focussing on’.
MP Nigel Mills was seen enjoying a game of Candy Crush on his iPad during a hearing in Parliament
The Tory MP said he takes his job ‘very seriously’ and would ‘try not to do it in future’ only to release a fuller apology today.
He said: ‘I apologise unreservedly for my behaviour at the committee meeting and realise it fell short of what is expected of a Member of Parliament.
‘I guarantee it will not happen again. It is a fantastic privilege to represent Amber Valley and I hope constituents will continue to support my campaigns such as lower taxes for hardworking people.’
A Commons spokesman said the photographs, shot over Mr Mills’ shoulder, broke strict parliamentary rules. Taking images without permission can lead to individuals being barred from the estate.
‘This was a breach of the filming rules for House of Commons Committee Rooms, and will be investigated by the Serjeant at Arms,’ a spokesman said.
Commons rules state that: ‘No one should photograph, film or sketch or have their voice recorded anywhere within the Parliamentary Estate without permission.
‘Anyone who attempts to do so, or to market, publish or transmit such material will be referred to Black Rod or the Serjeant at Arms.
‘This could prejudice their future admission to the Houses of Parliament.’
The Serjeant at Arms has scope to impose some punishments, but ‘serious breaches’ are reported to the Administration Committee.
Commenting on the decision by the Commons authorities into who leaked the pictures TaxPayers’ Alliance spokesman John O’Connell said: ‘This is nonsense on stilts. If the Parliamentary Authorities have the time and money to waste on this pointless inquiry, then clearly we need to have another look at the size of their budget.
‘The issue isn’t how the photos got out, but why the MP was messing around on video games during the Committee and why Parliament insists on these outdated filming regulations for what is, lest we forget, a public meeting.’
Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh suggested Mr Mills’ critics should ‘get a life’. ‘I survived nine years as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and I just about managed not to go to sleep and not to play computer games but my God, it was boring!’ he told the BBC.
‘So if Nigel has to keep himself awake by playing computer games, good on him.’
Addictive: Candy Crush is incredibly popular – with more than 700 million games played on mobile devices
Candy Crush is available to play as an app for mobile phones or tablets or on Facebook.
It is phenomenally popular with more than 700 million games played on mobile devices alone and has a reputation for being highly addictive.
In the game, players move a variety of brightly coloured sweets – or candies – around a grid and line up at least three of the same sweet in a row.
HOW MILLIONS BECAME ADDICTED TO CANDY CRUSH
Candy Crush Saga has overtaken Angry Birds to be world’s most popular game hitting the top spot on Facebook, iOS and the Android Play store.
And its London-based developer King has now overtaken Zynga – creator of Farmville – to become the world’s most popular social gaming firm.
King now has more than 66 million players worldwide, with more than 15 million of those playing Candy Crush on Facebook on a daily basis.
Since the game launched, Candy Crush Saga players have spent the equivalent of 103,000 years playing the game.
And over 1 trillion candies have been crushed, which is more than the stars in the Milky Way.
The basic games are free, but players must pay for attractive add-ons or extra ‘lives’.
According to ThinkGaming, Candy Crush makes an estimated £400,000 a day.
Every time a row is completed, the line explodes, making way for more sweets to drop in.
There are more than 400 different stages, each more difficult than the last.
Basic access to the game is free, but users must pay for ‘premium’ services.
You do not have to pay for the first 35 levels but after that, it costs 69p for another 20 levels.
Players are also encouraged to buy ‘boosters’ such as virtual ‘candy hammers’ for around £1.
According to ThinkGaming, Candy Crush makes an estimated £400,000 a day.
Mr Mills, a chartered accountant, is one of 90 MPs to have received a free iPad to help them with their work.
Tory MP Graham Evans, who was sitting next to Mr Mills, insisted he did not notice the Candy Crush Game and would not criticise his colleague.
He told MailOnline: ‘We all look at our iPads. Perhaps we should all pay more attention. We had a full turnout on the Conservative side. Nigel played a full part in that meeting.
‘Nigel is a good attender of the committee and he is a bright lad and plays a fulsome role in that committee.’
He said he was ‘not a big gamer’ but added that his wife and children do play Candy Crush. ‘I have children who are on these things all the time. Between doing homework they are on these gadgets and they say ‘oh dad, it’s part of modern life’.’
Mr Mills is is not the only MP to be a fan of playing games on their iPad. David Cameron is a self-professed addict of other mobile games Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds.
One adviser claimed that the Prime Minister ‘spends a crazy, scary amount of time playing Fruit Ninja’, a computer game in which players use a cartoon sword to slash fast-moving fruit.
Mills was the long-term partner of Gillian Shaw, the Conservative candidate for Amber Valley in the general elections of 2001 and 2005.
But she died of cancer in 2006 and he went on to win the Amber Valley seat in 2010 with a small majority.
In 2013 he married Alice Ward in St Mary Undercroft, the famous church in the Palace of Westminster, which MPs have exclusive access to and where the bodies of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Benn were kept on the night before their funerals.
Do you know who outed Nigel Mills as a Candy Crusher? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PM WILL BE FURIOUS WITH CANDY CRUSH MP BUT DOES HIMSELF PLAY ANGRY BIRDS AND FRUIT NINJA TO HELP HIM ‘CHILLAX’ AWAY FROM WORK
The Prime Minister admitted that he found Angry Birds ‘addictive’ and is said to love Fruit Ninja on the iPad
David Cameron is likely to be furious that one of his MPs got caught playing games at work – although the Prime Minister himself is known to a fan of ‘chillaxing’ on his iPad.
The Prime Minister, a fan of Apple’s trendy tablet computer, is said to be obsessed with the cult game Fruit Ninja, in which players swipe their fingers across a screen to slice through moving images of pieces of melon, orange and pineapple.
Mr Cameron is thought to have taken up Fruit Ninja after completing the hit game Angry Birds.
In a separate interview the Prime Minister admitted that he found Angry Birds ‘addictive’, but denied it was taking up too much of his time.
He said: ‘It is quite addictive, but I want to reassure you I don’t spend a huge amount of time on it.
‘Sometimes on these long flights, when you have done all your work, you have had all your conversations and prepared all your speeches, you need something to relax with.
‘Sometimes I watch a bit of television, sometimes I play a bit of Angry Birds.’
A book published in 2012 revealed how the Prime Minister liked to wind down away from work.
It was said that Mr Cameron’s friends gave him a karaoke machine, which is now at No 10 and he invites friends over for game of snooker.
There is a machine that fires tennis balls, which he has nicknamed ‘the Clegger’ after his victorious battle against the Deputy Prime Minister in the 2010 General Elections.
The book, Cameron: Practically a Conservative, serialised in The Times told how Mr Cameron flicks through the papers early on a Sunday morning and spends his time at his computer.
His afternoon consists of ‘a crap film on telly, play with the children, cook, have three or four glasses of wine with lunch, have an afternoon nap, play tennis,’ according to a friend quoted in the newspaper.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary and a family friend, told the authors: ‘He is the model of how to have a clear divide between the world of work and then relaxation so you can clear your mind. There are very few people who have such a finely developed capacity to do that.’
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