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Labour MP debuts fondleslab-assisted Parliament oratory

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Labour MP and doyenne of all things digital Kerry McCarthy inadvertently made history Monday evening by becoming the first British politician to read a speech from an iPad in Parliament.

"I did have a printed version, but was called so late I started playing around with speech on iPad so read it from there," McCarthy told the AFP, ungrammatically explaining the run-up to her historic fondleslabian oration.

Labour MP Kerry McCarthy

The face that launched a thousand tweets

McCarthy, who maintains an active Twitter presence and personal blog in addition to her plain-vanilla MP website, has gained some notoriety for her tech savvy – and her misuse of it. Last October she escaped prosecution for illegally tweeting results of postal votes before April's General Election.

After that gaffe – which prompted one Tory blogger to suggest that "someone call the police" – Kerry blogged her apology with the wise, if somewhat over-worn, aphorism: "Tweet in haste, repent at leisure...."

No such apology will be needed for Monday night's momentous iPadification of the House of Commons. Athough laptops are still banned in that august chamber, the Commons Procedure Committee has recommended that devices no larger than "a sheet of A4 paper" should be allowed.

"Banning them from the chamber might make the House appear out of touch with modern life and would mean that those in the chamber would be the last to know of breaking news widely available on the internet," the Committee – entering the 21st century a decade late – duly noted.

"We therefore conclude that Members should be allowed to use electronic hand-held devices for any purpose when in the chamber whilst not speaking," the Committee advised with proper Queen's English decorum, "and that the current ban on the use of hand-held electronic devices as an aide memoire, whilst speaking in a debate, should be ended."

So moved, and so approved – and now McCarthy's pioneering iPad-assisted remarks have vaulted her status well above her earlier honorific of mere Twitter Tsar.

The Reg now annoints her Princess of iPad Praxis. ®

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