Washminster

Washminster
Washminster

Friday, 11 March 2011

Computers in the House of Lords

The House of Lords yesterday debated and agreed to the Report from the Select Committee on the use of electronic devices in the House (available here) [The Administration and Works Committee].

This exchange occured towards the end of the debate -

The Chairman of Committees:....The noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, asked me a large number of questions, one of which was whether I could define the difference between a laptop and an iPad. I use the expression “iPad” in the same way that one uses the expressions “hoover” or “fridge”. It does not necessarily mean the Apple product—there are other varieties. The noble Baroness, Lady Harris of Richmond, who is a member of the committee, put her finger on this when she said that it should be used silently. We do not want people clicking away on a keypad—at least that was the idea. That is the fundamental difference between what I see as an iPad, such as the one that is now on the Table, and a touchscreen device. Of course, technology might move on. It has moved on enormously. Only a few years ago we changed the rules of the House on the use of mobile telephones.

Lord Higgins: My Lords, I am most grateful to my noble friend. If the object is to clarify the position, in light of what he has just said are we to understand that iPads will be all right but netbooks will not?

The Chairman of Committees: I am not sure that I completely know the definition of a netbook and how it is different.

Lord Higgins: It is a question of whether they click or not.

The Chairman of Committees: Then the answer is that we would prefer devices that do not click and that therefore do not distract noble Lords while they are in the Chamber. I have slightly lost my thread now....

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