We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to ensure that Assembly Members are prohibited from using the internet during Senedd sessions and to ensure voting in the Senedd is either done by a show of hands, orally or by paper ballot.
It is of concern that the use of the internet during Senedd debates could diminish the integrity of Welsh political debate and legislation. Debating sessions should hold the full attention of Assembly Members at all times. If Assembly Members are not fully paying attention to Senedd debates, how can they be properly relied upon to be looking out for the interests of the people they represent?
Voting should also be done using a show of hands, orally or by a paper ballot or registration to ensure full transparency. Technology and the internet are a great aid in administration and research but should not be relied upon or allowed to influence the democratic process and healthy robust political debate in general.
As reference points, the Northern Ireland Assembly Members have voted against electronic voting in their Assembly chamber. And in Scotland, whilst electronic devices are allowed as an alternative to paper notes for speaking in Scottish Parliamentary sessions, the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament has prohibited internet use.