How Labour killed their campaign (in 140 characters)

Ukip were the clear winners in yesterdays Rochester by-election, with the Lib Dems trailing behind them with a fraction of the votes. But it was Labour who were deemed to be the biggest losers on the night, after shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry caused a Twitter storm.  

Ukip’s Mark Reckless won the by-election yesterday with an impressive 42% of the vote, securing Ukip their second MP elected to parliament. The winning political party was followed by the Conservatives, Labour, Green party and then the Liberal democrats.

  • Kelly Tolhurst (C) 13,947 (34.81%, -14.39%)
  • Naushabah Khan (Lab) 6,713 (16.76%, -11.70%)
  • Clive Gregory (Green) 1,692 (4.22%, +2.69%)
  • Geoff Juby (LD) 349 (0.87%, -15.39%)

But the poor performance by the Lib Dems was somewhat overshadowed by Labour’s Emily Thornberry and her Twitter-happy approach to being a tourist in Rochester.

The shadow attorney general appeared to be strolling around the Kent town when she decided to snap a picture of a terraced house and, for some reason, tweet it.

The image sparked outrage on the Twittersphere and the working class wrath was felt by Thornberry and the Labour party, with many labelling the tweet as ‘snobby’ and ‘out of touch’.

Thornberry maintains that she tweeted the picture because the house had three England flags draped from the windows, which she has never seen before, saying it was “remarkable”.

The misjudged tweet does not directly criticise Rochester or insult the house pictured, although a derogatory opinion does seem to be insinuated.

With the controversial tweet being perfectly timed to coincide with an important by-election day, Labour felt the full effect of Thornberry’s clumsy social media posting. The papers and online news sites immmediatey picked up on the “Labour MP attacks the working classes” angle, barely even mentioning other political parties after the election results were published.

The Lib Dem’s seem to have escaped any real media scrutiny for their poor political result, which saw them being pushed out by the Green party, because public debate has been so focused on Labour.

Less than 24 hours after the image was tweeted, Thornberry chose to resign from her post as shadow attorney general.

In a statement released by the party, Ms Thornberry said: “Earlier today I sent a tweet which has caused offence to some people”.

“That was never my intention and I have apologised. However I will not let anything distract from Labour’s chance to win the coming general election. I have therefore tonight told Ed Miliband I will resign from the shadow cabinet”.

And of course, Nigel Farage took the opportunity to stick the knife into Thornberry just a little bit further; “What is Labour’s Emily Thornberry trying to imply about Rochester and Strood? I suspect she’s let Miliband’s mask slip”.

Picture: secretlondon123

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