Labour peer lashes out at "free" iPads in the House of Lords -

With the news that laptops are being cast aside in favour of Apple iPads, a peer has said that the approval of iPads in chambers is a rather expensive way to read documents.

The outburst comes as the House of Lords announced that it would allow the use of iPads and other tablets in official proceedings for up to a year. However, laptops were still a big no, as the typing could be a "distraction".

Members can only use the devices in silent mode, for any purpose not related to the proceedings before the House or Grand Committee, provided they do not distract other Members, the ruling claimed.

The rules in which the iPads are to be used also include the proviso that the devices can only be used to read documents, not to search the web for more information.

However, the Labour peer, who does not wish to be named, rubbished this - claiming that only allowing peers to read documents rather than surf the net is more expensive than buying paper for members of parliament.

He also questioned whether people would actually adhere to the rules: "Let's face it, we've all seen a number of members on the internet on their smartphones. There are reception issues but they aren't so bad that you can't find an unsecured wireless spot.

"Being able to access the net gives an advantage and there's also the point of Twitter and Facebook. This is a stupid way in which to spend the people's tax money on. I for one will not be embracing this trend."

While in the chambers peers are only able to view documents, our source tells us they will be free to have a go on the iPads for personal use too.

"I don't think it's right that they should use it for personal use if the tax payer is shelling out. I also forgot to mention the fact that people will be spotted on TV fiddling with these - what example does it set households who can't afford these high tech gadgets and what message does it send out?" he asked.