MPs call for order on iPads and tablets

A House of Commons committee is reviewing restrictions on allowing computers into the chamber, on the basis that portable devices and phones are becoming indistinguishable

MPs are reviewing whether to relax the rules on letting mobile computers such as iPads inside the House of Commons chamber.

The review by the procedure committee — the body that scrutinises proper practice inside the House — has been launched "as a matter of urgency", in recognition that parliamentary rules have been outpaced by the march of technology. Technically, laptop computers are banned from the Commons chamber, while "handheld devices" are allowed — but as computers have slimmed down and phones have become more capable, distinguishing between the two categories of devices has become difficult.

"Electronic devices do not stand still with time... we need to keep up with the times and look at this again. It's right these rules are reviewed from time to time," said Greg Knight MP, chairman of the procedure committee.

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see Apple iPad: MPs weigh up Commons role for tablet PCs on silicon.com.