SHOULD you take a mobile phone call while on the loo?

I admit I’ve done it. I’m not proud, but I am sure I am by no means the only one to answer the call of nature while chatting to someone.

Viewers of Good Morning Britain witnessed a fierce debate between TV presenter and actress Jeni Barnett, who says she has no problem using her phone while on the toilet, and author and presenter Jemma Forte, who branded the habit 'disgusting'.

The debate raged after a study showed 50 per cent of Britons are guilty of the habit.

Does it really matter? No-one can see you - for all they know you could be in your living room, kitchen or office. There are far worse places in which to use your phone, here are just a few:

The dinner table

Phones at tables are the most anti-social objects, yet people insist on placing them next to their plates.

When my daughters lived at home I enforced a ban on mobile phones at the table. It is impossible to enjoy a meal when someone is constantly breaking off to check messages. What is so urgent to warrant such vigilance? For most people it is no more than a few WhatsApp comments from friends.

This applies in restaurants too. It always fascinates me to see couples eating out, shovelling food into their mouths with one hand while scrolling through titbits on their news feed with the other. What pleasure is there in that?

In shops (while being served)

It’s the height of rudeness to chat to someone while engaged in a conversation with someone else, especially when you’re buying something in a shop. I’ve seen so many people handing over goods, chatting away, their phones tucked under their chins. They completely ignore the person serving. I had first-hand experience of this in the vegetable shop where I used to work. If I had had my way I would not have served them, but sadly, as is the rule in commercial life, the customer always comes first, even if they are downright rude.

In the classroom

A big no-no. If I were a head teacher I would not allow so much as a SIM card into a classroom. Teenagers in particular are joined to their phones at the hip - even switched off, the very presence of it in a school bag is a huge distraction. People may say that kids need their phones for emergencies, but schools functioned quite well for decades without mobile phones, so keep them separate.

On public transport

It amazes me how some people are quite happy to conduct private telephone conversations, be it about their medical histories or sex lives, in the middle of a bus or train. In days gone by, when people used public phones, they would take pains so that no-one nearby could hear. Now they use phones more like megaphones.

In cars, on electric scooters or on bikes

It may be illegal on some modes of transport but you still see it, and it poses a huge danger to others.

Compared with these calls, phone conversations on the loo are perfectly acceptable. Nobody is suffering rudeness or discomfort.

If truth be known, it’s quite a relaxing place to sit with no fear of interruptions, that’s what so many of us take newspapers into the bathroom.

As I see it, the only awkward thing about using your mobile while on the toilet is the sound of the flush. As you press the button you need to jabber into the receiver while beating a quick retreat, so the sound cannot be heard at the other end.