‘Fail of Two Cities’ – PM’s Twitter account in image gaffe

Posted on March 6, 2019


The official UK Prime Minister Twitter account (@10DowningStreet) attempted to pay tribute to Salisbury on Monday, a year to the day since the Wiltshire city found itself at the centre of the Novichok attack. Unfortunately, a piece of “human error” meant that a different city got the credit.

The now deleted tweet was screenshotted by Sky News, among other sources, and included a quote from Prime Minister Theresa May on her visit to Salisbury, where she described it as a “beautiful, welcoming English city”. The tweet also included an image, which most casual viewers would have assumed to be Salisbury itself.

In fact, the city depicted in the tweet was Bath. Both are picturesque cities in the South of England that are rich in history, but are around 40 miles apart and in different counties.

While in Salisbury, May addressed the mistake (which was not made by her, but a member of her admin team), simply saying:

“This was an error, which has now been rectified.”

A former MP of Bath, Ben Howlett, was not impressed by the mix-up though, describing it as “pretty bad timing”.

Downing Street slip-ups

It’s perhaps inevitable that such a busy and high-profile Twitter account has the odd mishap. One of the most memorable came in January 2018, when a cabinet reshuffle led to a day of social media silliness during which the PM’s account misspelt the word ‘portfolio’ and the Conservative Party announced the wrong person as the party’s new chairman in a tweet.

Other parties are prone to errors too, of course. What with the likes of Ed Balls Day, and the DUP leader Arlene Foster congratulating the wrong prince on his engagement to Meghan Markle, politicians on Twitter can sometimes create more of a House of Comedy than a House of Commons.

How did this mistake happen?

Sky News reports that the erroneous picture comes from the Michelin Travel Guide for Wiltshire, where it is also mistakenly labelled as Salisbury. This shows how one mistake can easily lead to another, especially online.

Such errors can easily be committed by using images taken from Google Image Search as well. Aside from the fact that images found via Google are not necessarily free and could be copyright protected, it’s also possible that they could be wrongly tagged and not actually a true representation of what you have searched for.

Perhaps the only certain way to avoid these situations is to take the picture yourself, or if that’s not possible, pay a subscription fee to use a reputable image bank.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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