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MPs told to 'Carry on Tweeting'

Tweeting MPs have been handed a reprieve as they were given the green light to continue using a micro-blogging site despite apparently being banned from accessing it during Commons debates.

Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle initially said Twitter was banned in the Commons despite it being used every day by dozens of MPs keen to keep their followers up to date with their take on Parliamentary business.

His apparent ruling came after a point of order from Kevin Brennan, himself a keen Tweeter, seemingly backfired on the Labour MP.

Mr Brennan complained to Mr Hoyle that Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert was wrong for alleging on Twitter that shadow education secretary Andy Burnham had refused to meet the Government's education access advocate, Simon Hughes, over the coalition's decision to scrap funding for teenagers.

The row was sparked by a tweet by Mr Huppert in which he said: "Ah, Andy Burnham's real agenda leaks out. Simon Hughes, in charge of developing a better replacement, offers to work with him. He refuses."

Mr Hoyle subsequently rebuked Mr Huppert for not making his comments in the Commons, adding: "I am sure no honourable member will be tweeting from the chamber to let the outside world know what is going on."

Mr Hoyle's comments went far further than Mr Brennan had hoped but a Commons spokeswoman allowed MPs to carry on tweeting. She said: "Lindsay Hoyle's comments today on this matter were not a ruling."

There had been some confusion throughout the afternoon as to what the rules were as Twitter is not included within current guidelines issued in June last year.

Section 24 of the Revised Guidance on the Conventions and Courtesies of the House states: "Mobile phones should not be used in the chamber. The House has agreed to the use in the chamber of hand-held devices to keep up to date with emails, provided that they cause no disturbance.

"All such devices may be switched on as long as they are in silent mode. Members should not use electronic devices as an aide memoire in debate. Electronic devices may not be used to film or make audio recordings in the chamber."


From Belfast Telegraph