UK Politics

No Twitter for MPs in Commons, says deputy speaker

iPhone user about to access Twitter
Image caption More than 100 MPs use Twitter

MPs have been told they should not use Twitter while sitting in the House of Commons.

Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said they ought not to "be tweeting from the chamber to let the outside world know what is going on".

The warning followed a complaint made by Labour's Kevin Brennan about Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert.

More than 100 MPs use Twitter to communicate with their constituents and other followers.

Mr Hoyle's Commons intervention came after Mr Brennan demanded to know why Mr Huppert had tweeted that shadow education secretary Andy Burnham had refused to meet education access advocate Simon Hughes, a Lib Dem.

'Opportunity to rebut'

The Deputy Speaker replied: "What I can say is that it is for me to keep order in the chamber.

"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."

Mr Brennan, who represents Cardiff West, raised the point of order during a debate on the government's abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance for teenagers in England.

The Labour MP, who has his own Twitter account, said: "The honourable member for Cambridge is tweeting from chamber right now that the shadow secretary of state has refused to meet the honourable member for the Liberal Democrats on the front bench when in fact the shadow secretary of state has already met him and is prepared to meet him at any time.

"Is it in order during the course of a debate for a member to seek to make points about participants in that debate without doing it here so everybody can hear the points that they are making and have the opportunity to rebut them?"

Mr Huppert's tweet read: "Ah, Andy Burnham's real agenda leaks out. Simon Hughes, in charge of developing a better replacement, offers to work with him. He refuses."

In a separate tweet, the Cambridge MP added: "Very disappointing; labour want a fight, not a solution. I realise this is opposition, but I'd hoped for a more constructive approach!"

Labour's Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, responded to Mr Huppert's comments using her own Twitter account, saying: "You claim Andy (Burnham) has refused to work with Simon Hughes when (the) opposite is true. Using p'mentary privilege to spin perhaps?"

She added: "Think you'll find they've (Burnham and Hughes) already met - or is Hughes going rogue and not telling his party about negotiations?"

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