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U.K. Parliament squashes BlackBerry use

House of Commons lays down the law after a prominent politico gets caught sending an errant--and profane--message.

Michael Martin, the House of Commons speaker, has declared that anyone using BlackBerrys or other "electronic devices" in the chamber can be thrown out.

The decision comes shortly after Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell used his BlackBerry to send a profanity-laden tirade to BBC flagship program "Newsnight," believing he had sent it to a Labour public relations agency.

Martin also revealed that some members of Parliament were found to be using the devices during debates. U.K. politicians also have been banned from wearing earpieces that could allow them to communicate with the outside world when the House is in session.

The previous speaker, Betty Boothroyd, earlier outlawed entering the House with mobile phones unless the devices are switched to silent. Members of Parliament who interrupt the session with text message noises or ring tones can expect to be admonished by the leader of the House.

Martin said that the use of mobile phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants) with silent prompts remained acceptable.

"But I am not prepared to accept the use of electronic devices to communicate outside the chamber, nor to act as an by a member participating in proceedings," he told the House.

The U.K. Parliament isn't the only executive body that has had trouble with wayward politicians and their handhelds.

A Norwegian parliamentarian was censured after he was found playing war games on his PDA during a discussion on military action in Afghanistan.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.