Leading Article: Alarm calls in the chamber

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The Independent Online
Alarm calls in the chamber

It's time for the Speaker to arrive in the Nineties. She has ruled that MPs cannot use bleeper messages sent by researchers to facilitate clever questions during parliamentary debates. How absurd. If those peachy keen advisers had sent their remarks in on old-fashioned note-paper, Betty Boothroyd would not have batted an eye-lid.

She made one wise concession. MPs can receive messages on pagers in the chamber so long as they are switched to vibrate and not to bleep. So next time a snoring backbencher fizzes to life, we will know what is shuddering in his pocket. The Speaker is not the only one to need waking up now and again.

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