MPs allowed to ‘tweet’ during debates in Commons

March 25th, 2011 - 5:00 pm ICT by ANI  

London, March 25 (ANI): MPs are no longer barred from taking their iPads and Blackberrys into the Commons chamber to update their micro-blogging site ‘Twitter’ during debates.

An official standards committee has said that MPs have been given green light to ‘tweet’ comments while they are supposed to be listening to speeches in Parliament.

They have been told they will be allowed to use smartphones in the Chamber - so long as they are on silent, and as long as they do so “with decorum and regard for others”.

MPs will even be allowed to surf the web on tablet computers like the iPad - providing the devices are no larger than an A4 piece of paper.

“Rightly, there would be an outcry if, whilst a minister was announcing deaths in Afghanistan, someone was tweeting about their holidays - but we are relying on the good sense of members,” the Daily Mail quoted Greg Knight, Tory MP for East Yorkshire, as saying.

“To pretend this technology doesn’t exist would just be backwards.”

But he said the committee had taken a “common sense approach” that would stop MPs feeling they had to miss a debate in order to catch up with emails.

“In the modern age, it’s easy for your inbox to fill up, but this allows MPs to attend a debate and still keep an eye on their inbox, as long as it doesn’t impair decorum.

“At the moment, we have the odd situation where we can have a wad of notes an inch thick but, if you have your notes on an iPad, you can’t refer to them.

“We have to acknowledge the need for change,” he added.

A report into the use of hand-held electronic devices, brought out by the committee, said use of the Twitter site was good for democracy because it allowed constituents to keep up to date with what their MP was doing on their behalf. (ANI)

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