All 650 British MPs to get brand-new iPad Air 2 units

“Apple’s hugely-popular iPad tablets have been widely used in Parliament since 2012. However, only 209 MPs currently own an iPad, which carry a price-tag starting from £399,” Aaron Brown reports for The Express. “The gross cost of supplying MPs with the new equipment is estimated to be around £200,000 a year, including SIM cards, averaged over the life of the Parliament. Liberal Democrat John Thurso, who represents the commission in the chamber, said moving away from Apple’s mobile operating system would require changes to Westminster’s current business processes and incur more costs.”

“Despite the premium price-tag attached to Apple’s best-selling iPad, the decision to buy tablets for MPs has been linked to a programme designed to save money in Parliament,” Brown reports. “The reduction of hard-copy printing in favour of online publications viewed and edited on tablets has already saved more than £3million annually, Mr Thurso said.”

“Shadow Cabinet Office minister Chi Onwurah – who first uncovered the information – blasted the House of Commons Commission’s decision to lock MPs into Apple’s mobile operating system. She said she would have preferred a ‘device agnostic’ policy for all MPs,” Brown reports. “‘As we saw with Nigel Mills and Candy Crush, MPs will be using the games, and the iTunes and other features on the iPad,’ the Labour frontbencher said. ‘Locking some of the most powerful people in the country into a platform that most of my constituents can’t afford seems like a mistake. And that’s without mentioning the tax avoidance issue. I’m pushing for a device independent digital platform for Parliament.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, iPad is the best device and iOS is the most cost-effective platform which has already contributed considerable cost-savings. Excellent choice.

So, as she approaches half a decade in office, why can’t most of Onwurah’s constituents afford a £399 iPad?


  1. “most of my constituents can’t afford”

    What a specious argument. Government is a business, and constituents are the buyers. Buyers don’t care what tools are used to produce a product, and businesses often employ tools with costs that their customers would never be able to justify for personal use. Parliament’s “customers” want their product produced cost-efficiently, but we all know that initial purchase price is only a small component of overall cost effectiveness.

    There may a lot of good reasons why Parliament shouldn’t use iPads, but confining the purchase of a business production tool to that which your customer can afford is illogical and downright stupid.

    1. No. Citizens are the owners of Government and the politicians are their employees. At least in theory. It could be that Governments have become subsidiaries of large companies, but I’m going to hope that is not yet fully the case.

      But I totally agree that TCO to accomplish the functions of Government is the proper way to make decisions.

      1. You are right, Citizens are owners of the Government, yet they are also, to a very large degree, the customers. Regardless, my primary point is that it is ridiculous to base the buying decision of productivity tools for the employees of government agencies based on what constituents can afford for themselves. I doubt that her constituents can afford Cray or IBM mainframes, but the government is purchasing those too. Mr. Natural says, “Always use the right tool for the job.”

  2. We are offering any Android based tablet to the parliament for free. We are doing this as an altruistic gesture and have no alternative motives in mind. (cough spyware cough)

  3. MDN ‘Shadow’ means she is not part of the Govt of then last 5 years she is a member of the opposition. Her attitude does rather sum up the ignorance of most MPs and others on technological matters though I am somewhat surprised that there is not a platform agnostic approach, I can only assume malware must come into it somewhere.

    Mind you how far have we come when I remember not all that many years ago MPs were complaining about the Windows centric approach to IT in Parliament.

  4. Not only is Ms Onwurah not a member of the Government (as spy says, she is the opposition (Labour) politician tasked with shadowing a particular Government Department), the decision os supply iPads is taken by a committee of legislators with their own budget authority, and not by the Government.

  5. I actually think think the idea of MP that’s seemingly concerned about their constituents isn’t a bad thing though it seems that they need to learn a bit more about computers because the problems that could accompany Android-based tablets bring their own problems on top of actually purchasing the tablets themselves.

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