A committee of peers from the House of Lords has issued a report recommending that smartphones and tablets be permitted within the Lords Chamber, as well as during Grand Committees.

Declaring that the rules currently in place are "inconsistent" the report states: "We therefore propose that all handheld devices should be permitted in the chamber and grand committee provided they are silent. This would exclude conventional laptops."

This leaves the door open for tablets like the iPad - although some airports do class the Apple slate as a laptop and ask travellers to remove them from their hand luggage when going through security.

The report states that the use of "an iPad or other device" to take notes should be treated in the same way as using a pen and paper which, of course, is already permitted.

In an interview with Silicon.com, Lord Lucas said: "Several Lords have used them in the chamber and they are immensely useful in dealing with the sort of detailed consideration of a bill that we go in for."

However, the Lord said he was waiting for the next-gen iPad to land before becoming a fully fledged fanboy.

The report states that no messages could be sent from devices during proceedings and that the rules currently in place regarding reading of speeches wouldn't be affected.

But it argues that the introduction of handheld devices "could have significant benefits for members in reducing their reliance on paper copies of documents such as the order paper, Hansard, texts of bills or explanatory notes, white papers or other government publications, and reports by external bodies which are the subject of debate".

The report didn't say whether or not Angry Birds sessions in the back rows would be allowed, or whether or not watching Rastamouse on the iPlayer would be tolerated though.