A £200,000 per year initiative that will see all 650 UK Members of Parliament receive an iPad Air 2 after May's general election has been slammed for locking politicians to a platform most constituents can't afford.
The plan by the Parliamentary ICT team is to cut printing costs, however Shadow Cabinet Office minister Chi Onwurah labelled it a "mistake" to tie MPs to the Apple iOS and called for a "device agnostic policy".
"It's great that Parliament is becoming digitally literate but choosing a vertically integrated proprietary system at a time when GDS and indeed the digital community is pushing open source, open standards and interoperability raises real concerns," Onwurah told Computerworld UK.
Giving out Apple devices has previously been piloted in 2012, with 209 MPs still currently using iPads given out at the time.
According to John Thurso, a Liberal Democrat MP, the House of Commons Commission found the iPad Air 2 to be "competitively priced" at around £500. Thurso claims that to move away from the Apple iOS to a more device agnostic platform like Android or Windows would "incur costs".
The five year plan set out by the Parliamentary ICT team will cost around £1,538 per MP and aims to save £3m a year by reducing politician's reliance on printed hard copies. However, Onwurah believes that equivalent savings would still be made with other more affordable tablet devices.
"As we saw with Nigel Mills and Candy Crush, MPs will be using the games, and the iTunes and other features on the iPad," Onwurah said. "And 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."