back to article Britain prepares for government by iPad

MPs may have had their heavy parliamentary drinking habits curtailed, but the 650 politicos occupying the Palace of Westminster might be cheered by the fact that they will soon be issued with their very own fondleslab. Taxpayers, however, might be less impressed given that the upgrade from laptops to Apple iPads will cost …


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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge


    exactly how many iPads may they claim on expenses?

    Just asking

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: So

      That depends if how they use their second iPad allowance and flip it between the rest of the family.

      BTW just how many pages of a4 do you need to print to exceed the cost of an iPad?

      Double btw - how long before an MP looses his iPad with something secret on it?

  2. Bob Vistakin

    And of course their iTunes account is "wholly, necessarily and exclusively..."

    ... essential for their duties as an MP

    It's fortunate Labours gift to the UK in the form of the first woman Home Secretary is no longer in the House of Corruption, but then again nanny doesn't allow pron in it's app store so that's alright then.

  3. Crisp Silver badge

    I'm confused.

    There was a story the other day about the cost of Windows for government. Are our MP's Microsoft whores or Apple whores?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm confused.

      Don't worry about the adjective - it isn't necessary. The term 'whore' implies 'available to anyone for the appropriate fee'.

    2. Neil Stansbury
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm confused.

      Or just whores?

  4. Greg J Preece

    "Politicos had been testing the Apple 'slab in the Commons since early 2011 with the idea being that the devices could save money on print costs."

    Erm, why do laptops require you to print anything more than tablets do?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Because laptops are less portable.

      1. Atonnis

        Ha! Ha! Ha! F*ck off...

  5. Scott 2 Silver badge


    I wonder if there are any tech-savvy MP's out there who would be tempted to jailbreak their device....

    Oh, and I look forward to the free iPad I'll no doubt find on a park bench in Westminster or some dodgy Gentleman'ss club...

    1. philbo

      Re: Jailbreaking

      "tech-savvy MP"?

      Isn't that an oxymoron?

      1. M7S

        Re: Jailbreaking

        Some MPs are, or at least fall into the "competent user" category. I heard Louise Mensch yesterday on the radio regarding her current issues with abuse on networks such as Twitter. Regardless of what can be thought of the platform she went out of her way to point out that the issue lay with the users and not with twitter as a platform, which was a pleasant surprise given that many in power might just call for "more regulation" or similar, clearly she understands that users are responsible for their actions/statements and also that in most cases, current laws suffice perfectly well if applied where required.

  6. Silverburn

    Lol - since when are iPads upgrades to laptops? Oh wait - I see what you did there...

    Seriously though - right now there's an IS guy who's either:

    - taking up heavy drinking. And crying.

    - too busy doing his CV and looking for a rapid exit to worry about the security nightmare he now has.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tablets, not iPads..

    It was made clear they weren't iPads... However it seems some tech writers don't know the difference.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tablets, not iPads..

      At the age of most MPs, the tablets they'll need are little blue ones.

    2. Silverburn

      Re: Tablets, not iPads..

      MP's are vain, image sensitive, technically illiterate, and unconstrained by budget.

      Of course they're getting iPads.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tablets, not iPads..

        Add any boardroom level director to that list.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Tablets, not iPads..

      "It was made clear they weren't iPads... However it seems some tech writers don't know the difference."

      It's already common for "the man on street" to call any mp3 player an "iPod". To some extent I'm hearing smartphones beiing generically referred to as a iPhone. No doubt it's happeing with tablets too.

      It may be that in a few years time Apple may find their trademark iThingy drastically watered down through "common usage", similar to Hoover, Sellotape and Post It.

  8. John 98

    Effiency gain?

    If we assume each MP costs us 250 grand (probably more), these things pay for themselves with a 0.1% effiency gain. And it might be much higher when Sir Humphrey gets told to "squirt it through to my pad" and has to learn how

  9. andreas koch

    Claiming on expenses, saving print

    For some reason I can just see that most Westminsterians will, after receiving their documents* in a rainforest-friendly way on their new iPads, print these very documents for filing purposes on their new (expenses claimed back) home printer (ink and paper claimed back)**.

    Effload of good that does.

    But it's good to know that they'll be save from pr0n Apps.

    * formerly printed in the cabinet's outsourced printroom on recycling paper on a Xerox Nuvera 144 at 0.7p a page.

    **now printed on HP AirPrint inkjet MFD , Staples HP paper and cartridges for 18.3p a page.

  10. ukgnome Silver badge


    How many devices will be left on buses and trains?

    Presumably more than laptops and folders of briefing notes currently.

    I know what you're thinking, remote wipe.....(insert your own joke)

  11. tkioz

    Err... given the very large pay packets and obscene "pensions" they get, not to mention walking into well paying jobs once they "retire"... why can't they buy their own damn ipads?

    1. Jedit

      "Why can't they buy their own?"

      Because of government procurement regulations. You need special permission to use your own equipment at work - doubly so if it's something unusual - because if it breaks the government have to replace it like for like.

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        @Jedit - Re: "Why can't they buy their own?"

        But, haven't they heard of the BYOD party? (It's making sweeping gains in local government and should win seats in Parliament).

        1. Jedit

          Re: @Jedit - "Why can't they buy their own?"

          The system already allows for BYOD. I'm a government employee, and at work I use a 23" widescreen monitor that I supplied myself. The sticking point is that if it breaks, my employer has to replace it with another 23".

          In and of itself BYOD is a great idea, and in smaller businesses it works a treat. However, when you're dealing with hundreds or thousands of employees the effort required to get so many different devices talking to each other is not cost effective. You're also faced with the issue of what to do when someone's personal property breaks in the course of doing their job; they have every right to claim a replacement from their employer, and the employer loses all savings from central procurement contracts because they can't establish a standard device to buy in bulk. It's easier and cheaper just to give everyone the same.

  12. Scarborough Dave

    Our local councillors have voted for them

    With alledged savings of also £50K, I think £30K of it was one tech guys job.

    Costing £160 each year for 3 years with a data bundle on top of around £15 per month.

    Still unsure how the locations services function, and the other fun bits will get on etc..

    Sounds like a security and privacy nightmare, mind you might be fun using a FindMyMP app and see if your MP is actually at work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Our local councillors have voted for them

      I'll keep this AC... but would it be any use for terrorists?

  13. M7S

    650 odd MPs

    What about the Lords?

    Some of whom are a little odd as well (but generally in a better way than the MPs).

    If there's a saving to be made in terms of paper and printing costs etc, will this rollout also apply to the parliamentary aides and other assistants of varying ilks?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 650 odd MPs

      Lords are getting them too - currently being tested.

      >If there's a saving to be made in terms of paper and printing costs

      Not really - assuming they mostly buy iPads, they'll all be needing new printers with AirPrint support - probably in all 4 stations [home1, home2, parliament & constituency offices].

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair game for Apple

    As much as I am not a fan of apple, I have to agree that given the costs of excessive amounts of paper which then incur further costs of secure shreading and proper disposal, (which seem to be forgotten by some costings) the fondleslabs do appear to be a potential money saver and; let's face it, the competition has been slow to the mark so deserve to be left out.

    There are specialist companies dealing with the software that adds extra security to the documents should the fondle slab find itself being fondled by digits other than its parliamentary masters.

    Politics and personal pernickity perceptions put one side, I reckon this is a good move and I applaud Apple for actually achieving business success by being the first to this market niche with a product that does the job.

    That is, of course, that in the future, we don't see some minister facing yet more calls for resegnation for being too close to Steve Jobs which, if you look inside some Whitehall department offices, might not be too far from the truth.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Fair game for Apple

      "costs of secure shreading" interesting point. Are there any secure document deletion apps which can actually wipe a document on SSD based devices? Bearing in mind the wear levelling algorithms in the SSD hardware.

  15. All names Taken

    And an excellent choice if I may say so.

    Of course, there is also the advantage that the device can be located and materials wiped no?

  16. Bunker_Monkey


    These are going to be non .gsi .xgsi devices then?

    total shambollocks and a disaster lurking just around the corner!

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems more of a 'aren't we trendy' job than a productivity tool.

    Personally, even as a techie, when reviewing documentation nothing beats a hard-copy and a pencil.

    Secondly, don't mp's do a lot of writing? Something that tablets are pretty shit for?

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Seems more of a 'aren't we trendy' job than a productivity tool.

      One of the highlights of Auntie's revamped F1 coverage is Gary Anderson doodling over a photo of an F1 car. Part of me despairs that the Beeb can't knock up graphics. But mostly I relish a simple, efficient solution that eschews needless high-tech gimmickry. Go Gary!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seems more of a 'aren't we trendy' job than a productivity tool.

        Indeed, I always preferred the wobbly light-pen on the snooker compared to the solid white bars (that no doubt accurately predict angles off the cushions).

        Hawkeye's pretty snazzy though, bit creepy how Virgo personifies it though.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free iPads for all

    Just check your regular train seat or park bench...

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Free iPads for all

      These are MP's. Your'e better off looking in public toilets, brothels, duck houses, moats and strip clubs.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe with iPads they MIGHT actually bother to read their emails and reply!!! heaven forbid they do their job and TALK to constituants when needed (yes I am annoyed i've had no reply from my MP)

    1. veti Silver badge

      Try investing in an envelope and stamp. I've never failed to get a response from my MP that way.

      With email, you'll be lucky to make it through their spam filters.

  21. Risky

    First question they'll ask

    "Ok so how do I print from this thing?"

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: First question they'll ask

      That's how they save paper...

      Do they get to expense their angry birds so they have something to do in the house?

  22. Drummer Boy

    And when they are away from the 'Office' in Westminster and are required to work offline on documents - how are slabs going to help them then?

    Oh, I know, they print them out, rather than having a laptop with reasonable storage, where they could work offline.

    Slabs - great for reading the daily paper f-all use for much else in the business world!!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rolls Royce!? when a mini is cheaper

    Why an expensive iPad when you can get a android slab on amazon for a quarter of the price.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "cost anything between £399 and £659 a pop depending on the spec"

    If someone else is buying it, they'll all go for 3G top spec at £659 each!


  25. P. Lee Silver badge

    It might save money

    if it was replacing laptops. But they aren't replacements, are they?

  26. majorursa


    So now and in the future a guy in the US decides how much device-choice the MP's have: none.

    If you have to commit to a closed platform, then why to a hardware platform with no diversity at all, instead of a true data platform with 100's of possible devices running it.

  27. AdamWill


    "Taxpayers, however, might be less impressed given that the upgrade from laptops to Apple iPads"

    'Alleged upgrade', surely.

  28. The Axe

    Hasn't anyone learnt that computing power never ever decreases the amount of paper generated. It always generates more. Has done since time immemorial*. There should be a law for it, like Moore's Law for chips.

  29. xyz


    To those not used to the mental 'abilities' of MPs and others of that ilk, here's a story.

    Secretary in London gets call from MP boss in France who is looking at a pdf that's on the UN web site. MP boss in France asks secretary in London to go to the address, then to print off the pdf (300 pages) and FAX it to him.

    Yup, they are that dumb and the above story really happened less than 5 years ago. You see an MP would never print off anything, they have a girl to do all that tedious admin stuff.

  30. Atonnis


    I'm looking forward to seeing a load of confused MPs on Parliamentary TV all suddenly realising they can't wave their bits of paper and 'rabblerabblerabble' 15 times every speech is made. Instead they'll all lift up their iPads, realise they're heavier than paper, then all sit back and start quietly start playing Angry Birds or something instead.

    We're looking forward to the quietest, most non-debated years in Parliament's history...

  31. The Nameless Mist
    Big Brother

    My Expense Claim

    Given the Government and the Local Government send me loads of bits of paper, can I buy a nice new fondleslab and then give my MP an expenses claim ?

    NO? .. then why should the gov bods be able to claim their's back ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My Expense Claim

      Oh man, i'd consider forking out for a dedicated iPad just to catch that shit.

  32. TechnicianJack

    I can see this going wrong.

    Apple people - iProducts don't get viruses!

    Hacker - Oh, all of the UK government are using iPads. Better make a virus.

    Make a virus to crash the systems/steal sensitive data. Government collapses.

    I suppose it's no different to the current situation. It will just be that the iPad has been hacked and sensitive data has gone missing, rather than the politicians leaving a USB drive on a train, and them losing the data that way.

  33. Graham Marsden

    "They have to agree...

    "... to receive documents about parliamentary business on the fondleslabs rather than have that information printed out on paper."

    And then they'll dump loads of stuff out to printer anyway, because that's what they're used to...

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perfect choice

    It'll be great fun typing parliamentary reports (often 100+ pages).

    However I'm not quite sure I follow the logic of "ipad instead of laptop == less paper used".

  35. alain williams Silver badge

    Security - can we trust them ?

    Given that some MPs see *very* sensitive stuff we have to assume that this will end up on the ipads. Apple knows who the owner of these ipads are and thus the USA government also does. Since Apple seems to have total control over these things we have to assume that the USA government is not going to be able to resist the temptation to see what is on these machines and, perhaps, even 'borrow' the odd document or few.

    Question: would the NSA let Obama have one of these unless it had a special build that had been crawled over by their top security people ?

    I had not realised that spying had become so easy!

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