MPs appeared last week to have overtaken the somewhat more cautious House of Lords, with the publication of new guidelines allowing MPs to tweet – and surf – during debates in the Commons, so long as they do it tastefully, and don't take up too much room. This was the conclusion of the Third Report of the Procedure Committee, …
"the Speaker has previously made it clear that it was unacceptable for a Member to be prompted by information on the screen in the course of a speech"
So it's okay to check your mail or tweet while you're supposed to be listening to what people are saying (if not why be in the chamber, sod off to your office) but reading out a prepared speech from a device, or simply reciting an email from a constituent during the course of a speech, is not allowed?
The worst sort of anti-social behavior is allowed but serving a useful purpose isn't - sums up our politics quite nicely.
This means we can finally fix politics... by sending cat videos to MPs to distract them from fucking things up.
Was he influenced by his wife, the Twittering #SallyBercow?
> According to the report, some 225 MPs have nothing better to do that tweet inane drivel.
There, fixed it for you
No change there.
Apart from now they can review replies from constituents that can't think, or write, in joined up writing.
They are there to do a job
They are there to work and their work isn't as a reporter. It's to listen and take part in debates. If they become reporters then who is doing to do the actual debating.
There is a press gallery already there for people to do reporting, if they want to tweet then they can stop concentrating on their job and go up and sit with the hacks.
Which MP is gonna be the first to entertain the other members with an impromptu burst of "Never gonna give you up" on a really tinny speaker they forgot to mute...
Hansard, May 5th 2012.
".......at which point the Honourable Member for Wavering-Under-Clegg rose to state that a researcher had sent a most amusing film clip of a skateboarding dog to his tablet device. Proceedings were suspended while sundry Members gathered to view the footage. All agreed that it was indeed a most excellent entertainment and superior in every regard to the cat falling in the lavatory viewed in the morning session."
'debates could look increasingly "unattractive"...
"... to members of the public, while some members might not listen quite as attentively as they should to complex points made in debate."
So, no real change there, then.
About the only difference will be that, instead of Junior MPs being sent out of the Chamber by their superiors to go and look up an embarrassing quote from an Opposing Minister, they can now just look it up on Hansard.
In general, I think "reading out a prepared speech" from any medium is frowned upon in the HofC with perhaps the exception of ministers etc presenting legislation etc - certainly in the past any MP who seemed to be reading a prepared speech would be severely heckled for this.
However, what I think the ruling is aimed to prevent is to have the party apparatniks beaming in comments to make etc to a speaker while they were speaking - or prompting with questions/interventions to make.
Don't 'debates' tend to be mainly the (now two) factions of the house booing, catcalling and insulting each other? Followed shortly thereafter by the party with the majority doing whatever the fuck they like anyway?
Shame they're not allowing laptops as well. At least then there's always the faint chance of one of the buggers electrocuting himself plugging the charger in.