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MP makes Commons history with iPad

A Labour MP is believed to have become the first politician to deliver a Commons speech using an iPad instead of printed notes.

Kerry McCarthy read her speech from the Apple tablet computer's screen during the third day of debate on last week's Budget.

The Bristol East MP's use of the device follows recommendations by the Commons Procedure Committee that iPads should be allowed in the Chamber.

Ms McCarthy is known in Westminster for her use of technology, with a popular blog and a role as Labour's "Twitter tsar" championing the use of new media.

But her ground-breaking use of the iPad in the Chamber was accidental, caused by repeated editing of her speech as the debate progressed.

She said: "I did have a printed version, but was called so late I started playing around with speech on iPad so read it from there."

Ms McCarthy added that it was "pure coincidence" that she had become the first to use the device.

Writing on Twitter she revealed that the iPad had caused some difficulties when it came to getting her speech in Hansard, the official record of proceedings.

Most MPs will send their notes to the journal's reporters but Ms McCarthy said: "Hansard want my iPad!" She provided Hansard with a paper copy of a "rough draft" of the speech she delivered, during which she accused Chancellor George Osborne of "cutting too far and too fast".

The Procedure Committee said devices no bigger than "a sheet of A4 paper" should be allowed in the Chamber. MPs can use electronic devices to aid memory during debates and send and receive messages under the proposals. But while the committee said the use of smartphones and iPads was allowed, laptops are still banned.

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