Parliamentary Technology

The Procedure Committee (which I sit on) has this week published its third report of the new Parliament dealing with the use of new technology in the Chamber of the House of Committee. Our previous two reports dealt with Ministerial statements and the use of Parliamentary Questions. Already it seems this latest report is attracting more media attention.

The House already allows the use of mobile phones to allow MP’s to check emails and many make use of this. The new report suggests that MP’s be allowed to use ipads and smartphones to replace speaking notes and provided they are always silent they can be use to reply to emails and those who wish may send Tweets using the micro-blogging site Twitter. It is this last point that seems to be attracting some comment. I took the view that if we were going to allow the use of these machines there was no way we could really enforce any rules about what they could be used for. The report will have to be debated and the House will then decide whether to adopt the new proposals.