Eyes down in the Commons for our modern MPs

IN WHAT is become a regular scene in the Commons, four MPs can be seen scrutinising their hand-held electronic devices, rather than paying close attention to the debate.

MPs agreed in October last year to permit the use of phones and Twitter during House of Commons debates, provided they are switched to silent mode and used with decorum. But, as the picture shows, there is a danger that MPs may be tempted to pay more attention to their gadgets than to what is going on around them.

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Taken just before Prime Ministers Questions on 14 December, it shows how easy it is for MPs to become distracted by their hand-held gizmos.

One-third of MPs are now believed to be regular tweeters – and it was argued that bringing smartphones and iPads into the chamber would help them keep in touch with their constituents.

Objectors said it would change the atmosphere in the chamber.