MPs vote against Twitter ban in Commons

Bid to ban the use of smart phones in the chamber is defeated by 206 votes to 63.

"Commons votes unanimously for modernity," tweeted Conservative MP Matthew Hancock.What on earth could he be referring to? The vote against banning tweeting in parliament, of course.

Tory MPs James Gray and Roger Gale tabled an amendment to prohibit the use of handheld devices during Commons debates. Gray argued:

I think [MPs using electronic devices in the chamber] brings the whole nature of debate in this place into some disrepute. I would like to see the standard of debate here maintained. We are the mother of parliaments, let us engage in detailed and logical debate and let us not spend an excessive amount of time on our electronic devices.

But their amendment was defeated by 63 votes to 206. MPs will now be free to use smart phones in the chamber so long as they conduct themselves "with decorum" (and get their BlackBerries to work).

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Election results in Wales: Labour on course to remain the largest party

Despite a shock victory for Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, Welsh Labour will be able to govern without a coalition.

Labour have posted good results in Wales, where the party remains on course to be the controlling force in the Welsh Assembly.

At the time of writing, Carwyn Jones’ party has 24 of the 40 constituency seats, with Plaid Cymru a distant second on 6 and the Conservatives on 5. Among Labour’s notable holds was Gower, which the party lost narrowly at a Westminster level in the 2015 general election by just 27 votes.

There was a surprise victory for Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood in Rhondda, where she defeated Labour cabinet member Leighton Andrews with a swing of 24 per cent. Speaking about the result, a spokesperson for Welsh Labour said:

“The Rhondda result is a really tough for us – we’ve lost a great Minister and one of the most respected politicians in Wales. Clearly the huge national profile afforded to Leanne Wood has had an impact, and Plaid seem to have won this seat at the cost of making progress anywhere else in Wales.

“The other results so far have been good. In particular where we are fighting the Tories it shows the local campaigns have been successful.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams held on to her seat in Brecon and Radnorshire, while Ukip have yet to win any seats (although they are likely to get a few on the regional list).