back to article MP caught playing Candy Crush at committee meeting: I'll ‘try’ not to do it again

Conservative MP Nigel Mills has been caught playing the popular and addictive mobile game Candy Crush Saga for over two-and-a-half hours while supposedly actively participating in a discussion on national pension reforms. Images and a video were published (paywall) in The Sun of the politician playing the game on his iPad in a …

  1. Shrimpling

    Thats terrible... it would be like me commenting on a website when I should be working.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      but El Reg is about computers, and my work is about computers... ergo, that counts as work.

      A/C because... just in case the boss has other ideas.

      1. SolidSquid

        I've previously had advanced warning of issues which were going to happen in a day by checking El Reg in the mornings. Bit different browsing an article to playing a computer game that requires a lot if interaction and focus though

    2. Psyx


      I'm not sure what's worse: That he was goofing off while supposedly helping to run the country, or that he was doing so by engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity.

      1. Jedit Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        "engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity."

        When did puzzle games become moron fodder?

        Anyway, this article fails to address the real issue. Candy Crush Saga only gives players one life every thirty minutes unless you make an IAP, when you get given two hours of unlimited lives. If Mills was seen playing the game over two and a half hours, he must have paid to do it - and if this was an officially issued device, it would be linked to a business account so he would have frittered away taxpayer's money to do it. We're all in this austerity lark together, are we?

        1. RyokuMas

          Re: "engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity."

          "When did puzzle games become moron fodder?"

          They didn't. Falling for's social engineering tricks that keep people coming back to this farce they have created by cloning CandySwipe is the moron-fodder aspect.

        2. kainp121

          Re: "engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity."

          I'm trying to figure out why Jedit got down voted. I've recently noticed a trend of well though out and compose threads getting down voted.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity."

            > I'm trying to figure out why Jedit got down voted. I've recently noticed a trend of well though out and compose threads getting down voted.

            It's because there's a twat out there. Simple as that.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity."

              Make that 3 twats out there

            2. Psyx

              Re: "engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity."

              "It's because there's a twat out there. Simple as that." - Some people see a post they don't like and then find every other post by the same person in the thread and downvote it, because that's how they like to roll.

        3. Psyx

          Re: "engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity."

          "When did puzzle games become moron fodder?"

          When you spend weeks doing essentially the same puzzle, making it a pattern recognition exercise, rather than a puzzle. and one with no use in the real world, to boot.

          Let's not pretend Candy Crush is an intellectual exercise: Judging from the requests to play I get sent on FB and who they come from, it's really not.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity."

          Not necessarily paid, you can wind the system clock forward 3 hours and get another full set of lives.

        5. Slabfondler

          Re: "engaging in such a brain-dead moron-fodder activity."

          Yes, if one is a complete loser, but should he happened to have won any games, no lives would be lost, and friends can give lives to one another, last I checked I had a couple of hundred I could "cash" in. Likely I have so many as I never play. to busy being a Commentard.

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      I got pulled up for that at work once.

      Which is why I no longer use my real name.

      Given that the job of an MP is arguably more important than mine (although also arguably much less skilled), I feel a dressing down at least is in order. If I played games during a meeting, even if it's the boring bits, and got caught doing it (ahem), I'd expect to be in the shit for it.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: I got pulled up for that at work once.

        Who is going to give an MP "a dressing-down"? Who, exactly, is their boss?

        Their party leader or chief whip? Nope, all they could do (at most) is boot him from the party. He'd still be an MP. And he won't do that over an issue like this, because of that saying about urinating into vs out of tents.

        Their local constituency party? Closer. They could deselect him, but that wouldn't actually sack him from his job - just mean he'd have to work a bit harder come next election.

        His constituents? They can, in theory, boot him from his job. Unfortunately the notice period is pretty long ("until the next election"), and there's no way of finding their aggregate opinion, or delivering it to the MP, before that time.

        Really, the most attractive thing about the whole job is the lack of accountability...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I got pulled up for that at work once.

          In spite of appearances, it probably was work. He was doubtless thinking through strategies to reduce the number of unemployed / immigrants / benefit claimants / critical journalists with the app as a kind of colour-coded visual metaphor.

          I can imagine Ian McGregor using space invaders in much the same way as he plotted the miners strike. Good job Blair never discovered Missile Command and wasn't good enough at Deus Ex.

    4. Jim 59

      Well kinda, if you spent 2.5 hours on said comment, in a meeting, while you were supposed to be engaged in decisions of national importance, and you had been elected to your job by thousands of citizens, rather than just answering a jobserve ad, and your employer actually gave you the iPad for free...

  2. Proud Father

    "try not to do it in the future"

    Try to not be caught?

    1. Simon Harris

      Re: "try not to do it in the future"

      But who else in that meeting was also not paying attention to the affairs of state, but was instead busy filming him?

  3. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    Yay - nothing like...

    Receiving value for money for politicians. Not only that - he is more upset about getting caught than the offence.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay - nothing like...

      Come off it, it's what you'd expect. Obviously your and my pension aren't important matters for MPs because they have their own gold plated (and utterly undeserved) scheme. But if your and my pension don't matter, what does matter to our political elite?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yay - nothing like...

        "... what does matter to our political elite?"

        Money, power and long lunches I'd imagine. And since he's a tory, making sure its a lot more money than anyone else.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Yay - nothing like...

      Anyone who's ever had to sit through long meetings knows full well there are parts which you are not relevant to. Conference calls especially, but IRL meetings too.

  4. Omgwtfbbqtime



  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang him

    Actually no, hang them all

  6. John70


    Just waiting for the next story that he claimed in-app purchases on expenses.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It figures...

    Wasting taxpayer money playing iPad games, when he was meant to be working, on his iPad that was bought for him by the taxpayer!


    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: It figures...

      Perhaps they should have gone a PlayBook or Surface, neither of those have any worthwhile apps and so MPs wouldn't be at risk of playing games they're not supposed to.

  8. IT Hack

    Look at it this way...

    While he's playing games he is less likely to harm the country. More video games for MP's says I!

    1. 404

      Re: Look at it this way...

      Yes/no - more of a chance some Luddite gets major legislation passed while the others are 'busy'. Might even feel better depending *what* games they're playing... say Clash of Clans... where you might hear statements like, 'Yeah, your TownHall ain't sh*t, you non-defense-designing bastard!, I'm 100%'ing your azz muaaahahahahah'...


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1UP-------------------------HIGH SCORE-----------------------------CREDIT

    I'm sure his Constituents are very proud of him

  10. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Actions speak loader than words

    > “It was a long meeting on pension reforms, which is an important issue that I take very seriously,”

    Not as seriously, it would appear, as moving little shapes around on an electronic toy. I'm torn between being annoyed at his lack of responsibility or being relieved that at least while he's wasting his days playing inconsequential little games, he's not doing what most politicians do: devising bad laws that neither achieve their intended purpose nor are tight enough to stop their loopholes being exploited.

    Maybe we should encourage all Home Office staff to stop devising new regulations and spend all their time playing Candy Crush instead. That way we might just get to retain a modicum of our civil liberties?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Actions speak loader than words

      "being relieved that at least while he's wasting his days playing inconsequential little games, he's not doing what most politicians do: devising bad laws that neither achieve their intended purpose nor are tight enough to stop their loopholes being exploited"

      Actually I think that this is incorrect. Most laws (including the myriad bad ones) are actually drafted (and therefore devised) by government departments - and thus by unelected civil servants. The politicians set a vague strategy, argue over a handful of key points, but then let the civil servants draft some turgid, overly complex rules in hundreds if not thousands of pages of legalistic claptrap, and then the pols rubber stamp it without reading or understanding it. That's why (for example) tax law runs to thousands of pages of impenetrable nonsense, and global multinationals can drive a cart and horses through the loopholes. Or another example is the 2006 Companies Act, around 700 pages, which was passed with no MPs admitting to knowing even the full scope of the act, never mind the detailed contents.

      Whilst the evidence rather suggests that civil servants and politicians interact to ensure the worst possible outcome, what our Candy Crush playing friend should have been doing is paying attention so that whatever came out of the committee was at least relevant, and in particular trying to stop bad stuff becoming law without proper oversight. If ever a group collectively suffered from ADHD then it is the occupants of the palace of Westminster.

      1. Queasy Rider

        Most laws... are actually drafted... by unelected civil servants

        I understand that in the U.S. many, if not most laws are drafted by special interests, then handed to their paid political flunkeys who stamp their names on the bills and push them through Congress.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Actions speak loader than words

      Pete, you never had to attend meetings where some parts had nothing to do with your work, and you were just waiting to get to the parts you were involved with? You never sat doodling or planning your dinner until it was your turn to present something?

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: Actions speak loader than words

        > you never had to attend meetings where some parts had nothing to do with your work

        Yup, frequently

        > You never sat doodling or planning your dinner until it was your turn to present something?

        I've never shown open disrespect for the people who *are* presenting or engaging in those parts of the meeting. ISTM you can either play little games (or as happens more often in my world: log onto the servers and spend the time futzing about, doing "work") or you can expand your sphere of knowledge or you can simply "sleep with your eyes open".

        But since most of the meetings I attend that aren't relevant to me, are at the behest of the people who are paying my consultancy rates, I feel I owe it to them to at least feign interest and project a professional image of my employers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actions speak loader than words

          I agree, Pete. It's called professionalism. At least pretend to be working and deserving of your wage, purely out of respect.

          Sure, some meetings are boring - but if they were enjoyable then you would be paying them for the privilege.

    3. Cynic_999

      Re: Actions speak loader than words

      ITYWF that whilst new laws do not achieve their *stated* purpose, they achieve their *intended* purpose very well. Which makes their "loopholes" either inconsequential or intentional.

    4. SolidSquid

      Re: Actions speak loader than words

      "hile he's wasting his days playing inconsequential little games, he's not doing what most politicians do: devising bad laws that neither achieve their intended purpose nor are tight enough to stop their loopholes being exploited."

      That would imply them spending a period more than one day coming up with the laws, I suspect that's not very likely

  11. darkbaron

    What do they play when their in a COBRA meeting? Warrior Smash?

    1. Marcus Aurelius

      Obvious really


      Actually this and similar games would at least allow them to "Fully Engage" in the planning...

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      > What do they play when their in a COBRA meeting

      Snakes and Ladders?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


  13. SolidSquid

    No sympathy at all, in any other job he'd be looking at at the very least being written up for this, if not something more severe. The meeting might be boring, but paying attention to it is his job, and not just the "bits that interest him"

    1. JDX Gold badge

      His job might easily only cover certain topics, therefore he's only paid to be interested in some bits and not others.

      And in any other job, this would be entirely normal. People do it all the time and get caught and get snapped at but that's about all.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The lawmaker was apologetic..."

    Can we please stop calling them 'Lawmakers'? It's way to grand a title for the trough-snorklers that infest the place.

    'Members' is accurate and sufficient.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The lawmaker was apologetic..."

      A shame our Members appear to be so dysfunctionally flaccid...

      1. SolidSquid

        Re: "The lawmaker was apologetic..."

        And so impotent when it comes to dealing with real issues, although it's quite easy getting a rise out of them if you mention UKIP or expenses

  15. Jim 59


    I guess this was on his free, taxpayer-bought iPad that all MPs awarded themselves a while back.

    Still, clears things up a bit for the next election. All his opposition in Amber Valley has to do is promise not to play computer games in parliament.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least he was there. He could take after Obama and spend all his time playing golf, something you could not do during a debate...

    1. kainp121

      You do know that bush took more vacation time then Obama right ? Plus do you think that the president is not allowed some time for stress relive.

    2. Psyx



  17. Yugguy

    Holier than thou

    Unless all you scandalised commentards spend EVERY SINGLE SECOND at work ON work, then perhaps you should STFU.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Holier than thou

      Nice straw man, I see you got downvoted for it...

    2. Psyx

      Re: Holier than thou

      "Unless all you scandalised commentards spend EVERY SINGLE SECOND at work ON work, then perhaps you should STFU."

      Hello pot. Have you met my water-boiling friend?

      Firstly, we're discussing politics, not engaged in being hypnotised by bright colours.

      Secondly, most of our jobds are pretty mundane and pointless compared to... y'know: Running the fscking country.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Holier than thou

        But the Emperor's not wearing any clothes!!

      2. Yugguy

        Re: Holier than thou

        My commenting on here is of VITAL importance. As long as there is a single person on the Internet who is wrong my mission must continue.

  18. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Could be worse

    My MP thinks that a SS uniform is suitable attire for a best man for a stag party in a French ski resort. He won't be my MP after next May.

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Could be worse

      This guy is on the side of the pensioners, you know. That's because he'll be one when his party is next in office.

    2. Psyx

      Re: Could be worse

      "He won't be my MP after next May."

      I hope you're right. Sadly, I don't have such faith in the voting public.

  19. Marcus Aurelius
    Big Brother

    Fully Engaged

    ...on improving his high score, no doubt.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fully engaged

    > I would say I was fully engaged in asking questions

    In other words he considers himself too important to be bothered with listening to the answers given to other people's questions. Don't worry Nigel, I don't there's any risk of you inadvertently learning something.

  21. Zog_but_not_the_first

    Candy Crush?

    At least he wasn't playing "people crush" for a while.

  22. RyokuMas

    Lowest common denominator...

    The worst kind of person playing the worst kind of game from the worst kind of studio. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

    ... I'll get me coat.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This won't be popular, but, MPs are representative (as well representatives of) 'the people' as a mass. They are certainly not all heros, but not *all* of them are selfish out-for-themselves scum, as with the public.

    If you prefer a country run exclusively by those with inherited wealth, that is your choice. Our version of democracy is heavily flawed, attracting the power and money crazed as well as those with a genuine intention to improve the lot of the masses, but tarring them all with the same brush is a little disingenuous.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All our MPs **are** born to wealth and most are Oxbridge Etonian-oldboys.

      They do not, in any shape or form, represent the public. They work for the tax evading multi-nationals who decide on what laws we get.

      There is no control over MP's actions and no real choice for the long suffering British tax payer.

    2. Dave Robinson

      I believe the inherited-wealth types prefer Fruit Ninja.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least he was present

    Towards the end of the 80s my MP got himself elected then simply fucked off to France for the duration.

  25. ukgnome

    Who would of thunk that an MP was a filthy fudge fingerer?

    (yes yes I know that fudge isn't candy)

  26. Primus Secundus Tertius

    How committees work

    In most committees there is one person who knows what the current subject is about, and the others are there to vote as their party dictates. Self-righteous outsiders should not try to interfere with a working system, but simply vote for rhe other lot every few years.

  27. Scott Broukell

    If he was dong this whilst attending a Public Accounts Committee meeting, one assumes he would have been playing another game altogether, since one Margaret Hodge can be a pretty angry bird at the best of times.

  28. G R Goslin

    Committees, Don't talk to me about committees!

    I can't see anything wrong with this. Committees are a waste of time. So why not waste your time in doing something pleasant? Imstead of merely gazing at the wall opposite?

  29. Stevie


    It gets better. This morning on the BBC World Service there was a segment on this in which a nice spokeslady said it wasn't as bad as it sounds because people do e-mail in meetings all the time on their phones and studies show that the *way* we do e-mail on our phones during meetings is in a "game-like" manner which doesn't mean we are not paying attention and like that.

    If it had been in real time (New York, me) I'd have missed my train to call in and point out that having people do e-mail on a phone during a meeting is a) fucking annoying to everyone else and 2) a sure sign that the mail-fiddler is NOT paying attention.

    My boss calls meetings in which all he does is fiddle with his blackberry while people try for the umptytumpth time to explain whatever it is he needed a meeting to understand in the first place. These meetings are notable for taking three times as long as necessary* and ending with the meeting convener no wiser on account of him not actually being at the meeting he called most of the time it was happening.

    * given that the necessity of having this meeting in the first place is something that would go away if the boss did.

    1. Goldmember

      Bloody hell...

      People in the wild still use Blackberrys?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bloody hell...

        Goodness gracious

        Blackberry phones changed a bit last year

        Didn't you get the memo

  30. kainp121

    They should do like the do in California. Once you are out office you need to find a job because we don't pay pensions at the state level for politicians. Lets see if they suddenly care about the pensions and other folks.

  31. MustyMusgrave


    Hackers the Movie (takedown): Lowe to Mitnik via telephone:

    "Dude, are you typing whilst your talking to me, you know how rude that is, right!?"

    Mitnik: "Will that be window or isle?"

    Lowe: "What???"

    Mitnik: "Nothing, im just checking in my luggage, you know how I like to travel light, besides you cant catch what you cant see!!"

    1. MustyMusgrave

      Re: Dude...

      Typical MP responce "How dare you cast insinuations about my moral charachter, I was emailing my wife!"

      Secretly in MP's own Mind "yeah, baby, only 3 more levels to go till high-score!"

  32. wolfetone Silver badge

    I bet he's one of the bastards complaining that the standard of champagne would suffer if the catering budget was cut.

    Roll on the General Election! Time to make a positive change....

    Ah hold on. We actually need an alternative that isn't a wanker, crook, racist, or idiot. Coalition again me thinks!

  33. Stratman

    It gets worse

    The Sergeant at Arms has started an investigation. Not into the MP's behaviour but into how pictures of him microbating got into the wild.

    1. MustyMusgrave

      Re: It gets worse

      Hey sarge, ave you got dem youtubies on your submarine boat? time to ban all that phone tube rubbish because it maps out the Submarines! How about you wont see it coming until the next general election, where the republicans take over the floor with Clint eastwood saying "over my dead hands!" along side every other repulican, oh shit, they're in trouble now... Chuck Noris & Steven Seagal are all gunning to kick there ass!

  34. Hoe


    Subscribers should be instantly committed, 2 birds, 1 stone.

  35. Anonymous Bullard
    IT Angle

    I haven't seen the video, but what's been missed is the (potential) leakage of sensitive data.

    An invasion of privacy at the very least.

  36. Chris King

    "I'll ‘try’ not to do it again"

    If the constituents of Amber Valley have any sense, they'll make sure of that in May !

  37. Bob Vistakin

    We even paid for the fucking iPad he did it on

    We pay for his time, we pay for his second house ... did we even pay for the app itself? Some enterprising journo should look into his expenses, if we did that would be an even bigger pisstake than this at first appears.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gross misconduct

    The only acceptable outcome is the MP being dismissed and a by-election held.

    MPs must be held to the same standards of any other **EMPLOYEE**.

    But, of course, nothing will actually happen because MPs can do what they want without censure. Up to and including kiddy fiddling!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You're missing the important question here folks. What was his score?

  40. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Cameron doesn't care when one one of his MPs gets a second job working for a company bidding for public sector contracts. Why should he care when one of his MPs doesn't pay attention during a meeting?

  41. Winkypop Silver badge


    What was the score?

  42. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    There is no 'Try'

    Do, or Do Not

    Where's the Yoda icon when you need it?

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Nothing New

    A decade ago when I was attending an ISO Standards meeting in Atlanta I noticed that most of the American delegates were playing various games on their laptops, I had a paper based note book on the grounds that I wasn't being paid enough to own a laptop then (poor me - ahhh) - but when they had a brown-out I was the only one not to loose my notes (yay for paper-based information systems) - but I still doodled when bored. So nothing new about this - that MP got caught thats all.

  44. Syntax Error


    He should be sacked. Lazy sod.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like