MPs get green light for iPad and Twitter

Politicians should be able to use iPads and Twitter during House of Commons debates, a parliamentary report has recommended
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

MPs should be able to use tablet devices and smartphones in House of Commons debates, a parliamentary committee has recommended.

Apple iPad

A parliamentary report has recommended the use of tablets and smartphones in House of Commons debates. Photo credit: James Martin/CNET News

Politicians should also be allowed to post to Twitter from the chamber using hand-held devices, as long as they "use their good sense and behave with courtesy", according to a report published online on Thursday.

"Members should be allowed to use electronic handheld devices for any purpose when in the chamber whilst not speaking," said a House of Commons procedure committee report. "The current ban on the use of hand-held electronic devices as an aide memoire, whilst speaking in a debate, should be ended."

MPs should not use tweets or emails from "instant rebuttal teams" during debates or allow themselves to be drawn into debate with the public while in the Chamber, said the committee. Laptops should not be used in the chamber, and handhelds such as iPads should be "used in a way that does not impair decorum".

Hansard, the parliamentary record, would be happy to accept electronic notes for speeches, said the committee.

The report needs to be approved by the House of Commons before becoming an accepted set of rules.

The House of Lords said in March that peers can use handheld devices to look at papers related to debates in the chamber, for a one-year trial period.

A number of official institutions are trialling Twitter. Reporters were allowed to post to the micro-blogging service from court during the extradition hearing of Wikileaks editor Julian Assange.

Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviews delivered directly to your inbox with ZDNet UK's newsletters.
Editorial standards