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Four terrible Twitter blunders from MPs in the last week

Twitter Ribbons

Four terrible Twitter blunders from MPs in the last week

We don’t know whether the upcoming pantomime season has gone to the heads of certain folks in Westminster, but the last few days have seen a spate of politicians make absolute wazzocks of themselves on social media.

In the U.S., Donald Trump’s tweets continue to frighten us, but MPs over here just tend to be a bit comically oafish with their social media use, as Ed Balls Day reminds us every April 28th.

Just in the last few days, the people we elect to run our constituencies seem to have been on a crusade of carelessness on Twitter. Take a look at these examples:

1. DUP leader congratulates wrong prince on marriage

Monday’s news was dominated by the announcement that Prince Harry had proposed to American actress Meghan Markle. Among the well-wishers was Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, who tweeted the below:


Unfortunately, this may have caused some consternation in Buckingham Palace, since William married the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.

Foster deleted her tweet and apologised, admitting that she gets a “member of staff” to do her tweets for her.

It might be a different “member of staff” from now on!

2. Labour MP calls Theresa May “ugly”

The House of Commons can be something of a Punch and Judy show at times, but it’s never wise to have a pop at another politician for their appearance.

On Monday, Emma Dent Coad, the MP for Kensington and Chelsea, shared a quote from Roald Dahl’s ‘The Twits’, along with a picture of Prime Minister Theresa May. Part of the quote is:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face.”

Dent Coad has since deleted the tweet and shrugged it off as “a joke”, saying politicians have to deal with far worse. You could also argue that the quote suggests that beauty comes from what you say and do rather than how you look. Even so, it seems a childish dig.

3. Tory MP sits on his phone?

While the last two examples were errors of judgment, Conservative MP Johnny Mercer baffled everyone on Saturday morning by tweeting this colourful, emoji-stuffed message:

Had his kids hacked his Twitter account? Had his phone done a Joleon Lescott and “tweeted in his pocket?” Or had the pressures of being MP for Plymouth Moor View simply sent him bonkers?

In any case, Mercer has not deleted the tweet, and even followed it up with another piece of art from his daughter:

Ahhh, that’s nice!

4. Jeremy Hunt causes uproar by being Jeremy Hunt

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is a man so polarising, he doesn’t even have to tweet himself to send Twitter into meltdown.

After a hospital in Bristol tweeted that it was “proud” to welcome Hunt for a visit last Thursday, members of staff waded in to question on whose behalf they were expressing this “pride”. The reaction on Facebook was such that the post was removed altogether.

The fun didn’t end there for the hapless Hunt, whose day in Bristol also saw him face a protest that included an unhappy member of the public lying down on the bonnet of his car, according to The Bristol Post.

Last week, Hunt was also schooled on mental health by actor Ralf Little, who accepted the MP’s challenge to back up his “assertions” with a series of 40 statistics-based tweets.

So, there are four lessons on “what not to tweet” given by Westminster’s finest, who often must wonder why they bother at all!

John Murray
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