As the dust settles on Boris Johnson’s high-stakes performance at PMQ’s, we took a closer look at how the conversations surrounding the apology landed on Twitter. Over a 12-hour period, we found over 26k tweets commenting on PMQs.
Unsurprisingly, the Twitterarti weren’t impressed with Boris’s attempt to distance himself from ‘partygate’. Even worse for the Prime Minister, it was Labour MPs who dominated the online conversation. Zarah Sultana MP, Chris Bryant MP, Sir Keir Starmer MP and Wes Streeting MP appeared in the top ten most engaged with tweets – all of which attacked and criticised the PM.
Sultana’s tweet accusing the PM of lying to parliament and the public had the most overall engagement. In replies to Zarah’s tweet, and many others attacking the PM, the two recurring themes emerged: despair and anger.
The despair was mostly Tory and manifested itself in tweets wondering who would replace the PM should he be forced to go. Although Labour performed well and their attacks on Boris have found a receptive audience, on Twitter at least, there appears to be more work needed to position themselves as the credible alternative. Starmer still has a way to go.
For its part, the anger manifested in three ways: at the PM’s apology itself, at the Conservative MPs backing their PM, and by users sharing emotive stories of their lost loved ones.