“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).