Peers should be allowed to use iPads and smartphones inside the House of Lords, a new report has recommended.
In a move could give members of the upper house a real technological edge over their colleagues in the Commons, the Lords Administration and Works committee has proposed changes to the “incomplete, outdated and contradictory” regulation of the use of electronic devices in the Chamber.
The committee recommends that, for a trial period of one year, peers should be allowed to use Internet-enabled devices, such as tablets, smartphones and ereaders, during debates - provided they remain silent. Laptops, however, remain excluded.
Lords will face restrictions on what they can browse, the committee said, and will not be allowed to send messages from their devices during proceedings, arguing that it would not be “conducive to good debate”.
But the committee does seem to favour the use of tablets and other devices during speeches.
"We see no qualitative difference between using a pad of paper for speaking notes and using an iPad or other device," the committee said.
If the House agrees the report, the Procedure Committee will be invited to make the necessary changes to the Lord’s rulebook, the Companion, when it is next updated.
“The Handbook on facilities and services for Members will also be revised accordingly,” it added.