Update: British Parliament could give tablets to all 650 MPs

by Doug Drinkwater

February 7 2012

All 650 MPs could receive tablet PCs
All 650 MPs could receive tablet PCs

A committee from the House of Commons, Britain’s elected governing chamber, is pushing ahead with plans to equip all 650 members of parliament (MPs) with tablets.

"It seems that this is the future, for the convenience in terms of dealing with all the work MPs have to do, but also because it assists in what is a determined policy of the House - reducing the use of paper,” said chairman of the committee, Sir Alan Haselhurst, in a statement.

“There is a pretty sure case to say that the supply of these will lead to an overall saving for the public purse."

Haselhurst said that a trial involving 16 members of his committee had resulted in savings of “several thousand pounds (GBP)”, as they were able to circulate information electronically.

The House of Commons has already ruled that tablets, and subsequently the use of Twitter, is allowed in the chamber and is due to make a decision on this potential tablet deployment in the coming days.

If the deployment was to be agreed, it would certainly attract the attention of British taxpayers, who may see such a deployment to be unnecessary in a time of economic struggle.

Update: TabTimes has since spoken to Sir Alan Haselhurst to gather his thoughts on the possible deployment. He said that every MP receives three desktop and two laptops at the start of each Parliament, and clarified that the tablet would act as a replacement for one of these laptops.

Haselhurst also argued that the tablet has become an 'everyday thing' for consumers, so questioned why MPs should not be party to the privilege of having one, and went onto suggest figure of 650 tablets may actually be false - as a number of MPs are already using their own tablets for work purposes.

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