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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 467: debated on Wednesday 7 November 2007

I have a statement to make about the use of electronic devices by Members in the Chamber.

On 25 October, the House agreed to the use in the Chamber of hand-held devices to keep up to date with e-mails, provided that they cause no disturbance. From the start of this Session, therefore, Members can use such devices in the Chamber provided that they cause no disturbance. In line with a ruling from my predecessor in 1997, Members carrying such devices should turn off the audio function before coming into the Chamber. They should also not wear earpieces to receive messages.

In line with previous rulings, it remains unacceptable for a Member speaking in the Chamber to be prompted by information on the screen, or for a device to be used as a prompt by a Member—or a Minister for that matter—participating in proceedings. The Chair will order a Member seen to be using such an electronic device while speaking to resume their seat immediately. This ruling will be applied in Westminster Hall and in General Committees of the House. [Interruption.] Order.

I cannot take any point of order on this statement. Those come after statements, and we now have one from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.