(Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament, under Creative Commons license.)
The UK Parliament spent £17,000 (about $26,000) on a total of 34 iPads for official use this year.
Seventeen were bought for use by Commons staff, and another 17 for use by the Parliamentary Information and Communication Technology Service. The iPads were a mixture of versions 1 and 2, and wifi and 3G models.
MP John Thurso told the House in a written statement:
“They are being used to explore how mobile computing might be used to support the work of Parliament, and what cost savings or environmental benefits might be gained.”
MPs and Lords are already allowed to use their personal iPads in both Houses of Parliament, as a quick search for “iPad” in the official record reveals. These official iPads are only for use by staff, not by elected members.
Needless to say, using an iPad in Parliament isn’t completely as clear-cut as it sounds. It’s fine to sit quietly, using your iPad unobtrusively on your lap. But heaven help the Member who lifts it up while speaking, and attempts to read out loud any notes from the screen – they’ll probably get a ticking off from the Speaker. Parliamentary tradition doesn’t permit reading from notes, electronic or otherwise.