Our politicians are seldom lost for words so it’s no surprise that many of them are active on social media. And when it comes to getting their message out there, one platform in particular has proven to be especially popular - Twitter.
Once dubbed a micro blogging site Twitter has been around since way back in 2006 and many of our MPs were early adopters.
We thought it would be fun to take a look at how widely our elected representatives in the House of Commons use Twitter and to find out which MPs are most active on the platform. So we took a deep dive into the Twitter accounts of every MP in Westminster with some surprising results.
We found a clear majority of our 650 Members of Parliament are on Twitter and use it at least occasionally. Of the 650 MPs we found Twitter accounts for 593 making just 57 who don’t seem to be using the platform.
But some MPs embrace Twitter way more than others. Three MPs stand out in a league of their own when it comes to tweeting - each racking up more than 100,000 tweets or more than 20 every single day for well over a decade.
The highest tweeting MP is the SNP’s Angus MacNeil who is closing in on 120,000 tweets or retweets. We calculated that he has been on Twitter for 154 months meaning he’s averaged 26 tweets a day for more than 12 years.
Conservative MP Karl McCartney is his closest rival with more than 113,200 tweets at the time of writing. He’s been on the platform three months longer than Mr MacNeil and has averaged 24 tweets or retweets every single day for close to 13 years.
The third MP to rack up more than 100,000 tweets is Labour’s Wes Streeting who has posted more than 106,300 tweets over his 13 years on Twitter - averaging 22 tweets per day.
Three more Labour MPs will soon join the 100,000 club with Karl Turner, Andrew Gwynne and Stella Creasy all posting more than 90,000 times. Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Fallon has tweeted more than 80,000 times as has Labour’s Emma Hardy.
Labour MPs Chris Bryant and Jess Phillips along with Conservative Steven Baker have each racked up more than 70,000 tweets - around 16 a day on average.
You might expect the most active MPs to have the highest following on Twitter but our research revealed little correlation between activity and follower numbers.
Angus MacNeil has only 43,000 followers, a modest number compared to Jess Phillips who has more than half a million.
But it’s the politicians who have the highest profile off Twitter who enjoy the biggest following on it with Boris Johnson’s account being followed by 4.1m people despite him tweeting less than 6,000 times.
For context Angus MacNeil has tweeted 22 times more than the Prime Minister but has only one per cent of his number of followers.
Boris Johnson has more followers than any other MP and he's one of a select group of just four MPs with more than a million followers each. The others being Jeremy Corbyn with 2.4m, current Labour leader Keir Starmer with 1.2m and ex-PM Theresa May with 1m. Another former Labour leader Ed Miliband has 776,600 followers making him the fifth most followed MP. Up in Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has 1.4m followers - but did not qualify for our study as we only focused on House of Commons MPs.
But despite their huge audiences the five most followed MPs have only posted a combined total of less than 40,000 tweets - meaning Angus MacNeil has tweeted three times more than the five of them put together.
How we did it:
We downloaded a spreadsheet of current MPs. We then went online and found the Twitter accounts of every MP recording their number of tweets, retweets and followers. We looked at when they joined Twitter and calculated the total number of months they had each been on there. Then we divided the total number of both tweets and retweets by the number of months to give the average number of tweets per month and then divided this number by 30 to give a value for tweets per day.
All data is correct as of Monday 29th March 2022 - although at the rate some of these guys tweet it won’t stay accurate for long!
Research by Dan Thompson and Ella McManus.
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Note on usage: All data and graphics are free to use in return for a credit to Motive and a link to this page.
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