News24

No Tweets please, we're British MPs

2011-01-20 07:08

London - Lawmakers in Britain's lower house of parliament were on Wednesday banned from using the Twitter micro-blogging website while sitting in the chamber.

Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle gave the ruling after opposition Labour MP Kevin Brennan complained during a debate that Julian Huppert of the Liberal Democrat party, which is part of the governing coalition, was tweeting.

Brennan protested that it was unfair of him to make points about the debate via Twitter instead of giving his arguments inside the House of Commons chamber where other legislators could have the chance to rebut his points.

"I am glad you have brought it to my attention. I am sure no honourable member will be tweeting from the chamber to let the outside world know what is going on," Hoyle said.

Current parliamentary guidelines issued in June last year say only that mobile phones should not be used in the chamber but that hand-held devices to use e-mails are acceptable.

The ban comes just a month after a landmark decision permitting the use of Twitter in courtrooms in England and Wales, following debate over the issue at previous hearings involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange is wanted for extradition by Sweden on sex crimes allegations.