Islington MP quits over “snobbish” tweet
By Emma Volney and Yannic Rack
The MP for Islington South and Finsbury has resigned from the Shadow Cabinet after being accused of ‘outrageous snobbery’.
Labour’s Emily Thornberry stepped down as Shadow Attorney General just hours after apologising for a controversial tweet, which left Ed Miliband ‘absolutely furious’.
The tweet depicted a photo of a terraced house draped in three St George’s flags, along with the caption ‘Image from Rochester’.
— Emily Thornberry MP (@EmilyThornberry) November 20, 2014
Ms Thornberry had been out campaigning for Labour at the Rochester and Strood by-election, which was won by Mark Reckless, the UKIP candidate.
Social media users accused the former barrister of “outrageous snobbery”, with many condemning her post as a blatant mockery of the working class. David Skelton, director of the Conservative think tank Renewal, tweeted: “The outrageous snobbery of modern Labour. Sneering at working people.”
@EmilyThornberry how out of touch are you? And you wonder why no one wants to vote for you and your vacuum packed lefty snobs
— Reece Emmitt (@ReeceEmmitt) November 20, 2014
“Thanks for the reminder of why no working man should ever vote Labour,” replied one user.
“Today’s tweet exemplified how utterly alienated Labour has become from its core voters,” wrote another.
— Frank Fisher (@frank_fisher) November 20, 2014
Ms Thornberry – who had said she was a victim of ‘a prejudiced attitude towards Islington’ – later resigned, following a stern dressing down from Ed Miliband.
She said in a statement: “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 Milband I will resign from the shadow cabinet.”
Chris Bryant, Labour’s shadow work and pensions minister, thought she was right to go.
“Emily, by her own admission, knows it’s been a bit of an own goal today. She’s done the right thing to apologise and done the right thing to resign,” he told BBC News.
— politics.co.uk (@Politics_co_uk) November 20, 2014
Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, slammed his colleague’s tweet as “derogatory and dismissive of the people.”
He said: “It’s like the Labour Party has been hijacked by the north London liberal elite and it’s comments like that which reinforce that view.”
Before resigning, Ms Thornberry issued an apology for “any offence caused,” adding that “people should be able to fly the England flag with pride!”
She will continue to represent Islington South and Finsbury as an MP.
Do you think Ms Thornberry’s tweet was blown out of proportion? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.