Home Office Minister Liam Byrne apologised today after he was fined for using a mobile phone while driving.
The Immigration Minister pleaded guilty to the offence in a letter to Sutton Coldfield Magistrates' Court, explaining that he had been taking an important call on a deportation matter at the time of the offence.
He was given three penalty points on his licence - which already carried three points - and a fine of £100.
The Labour MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill and former police minister was also ordered to pay costs of £35 and a victim surcharge of £15.
In the letter, Mr Byrne, 37, expressed remorse for the offence, which took place in Tyburn Road, Birmingham, on July 6.
He told magistrates that he accepted there was no excuse, and that he should have pulled over to take the call. He later released a statement saying: "Talking on a phone without a hands-free is wrong. I have apologised unreservedly to the court."
Despite his apology, road safety experts and constituents criticised the minister for failing to lead by example. A spokesman for The Institute of Advanced Motorists said: "The annoying thing is the implication that the minister's phone call while driving was so important that he couldn't pull over to take it.
"That is totally unacceptable: everybody who has a mobile phone, a car and a job could try to claim that by way of mitigation.
"It is imperative that ministers lead by example. If this call was so important, it should never have taken place at the wheel of the car."
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said Mr Byrne should have known better. Kevin Clinton, head of road safety, said: "The Home Office is responsible for the law and its ministers should be well aware of it and set the correct example.
"Far too many lives have been lost needlessly because of mobile phone calls and whether you are on a hand-held or a hands-free phone you are four times more likely to crash.
"It is good to see him being treated in the same way as other motorists and it shows that people who flout this important law do get caught and punished."
Constituent Leslie Hall, 64, said: "It is a shame because he is a cracking MP but the laws are there for a good reason.
"If we are going to have a decent set of laws in this country, then everyone has to obey them.
"There shouldn't be one rule for him and another for the rest of us. It is good that he has been punished by the courts but it is not the point.
"He should never have broken the law in the first place."
However, Mr Byrne retained the support of his boss, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
Speaking to reporters in her Redditch constituency, Ms Smith was asked if she was happy with the job Mr Byrne was doing.
She answered simply: "Yes."
Just this week figures released by a road safety website showed that drivers continue to flout the law and use hand-held mobile phones while behind the wheel.
Since stricter penalties were introduced earlier this year, 1,119 motorists have been spotted using a mobile and reported to BetterDrivingPlease.com.
The website allows anyone to report bad driving. Nearly a quarter of all its reports involve a mobile phone.