File this one under “be careful what you retweet,” as a British Member of Parliament is in trouble after sending out an offensive retweet which said that Britain’s Labor Party of is “quite full of queers.”
Matt Hancock is a Member of Parliament in Britain, where he represents the constituency of West Suffolk. He is also the Business Minister, and like many MPs, has an active Twitter account with about 17,400 followers. On October 2, Hancock was tweeting limericks against the Labour Party, in honor of National Poetry Day. Earlier in the day, he had sent out a limerick with his own opposition and then began retweeting the limericks of his followers. One of them, however, contained this offensive verse:
Naturally, this didn’t go over well. Chris Bryant, an MP in the opposition Labour Party, attacked the tweet as “vile” and urged Prime Minister David Cameron to fire Hancock. That call was echoed by at least one other Labour Party MP. The call is likely to fall on deaf ears, and two other members of the Conservative Party jumped to Hancock’s defense.
Hancock, meanwhile, deleted the tweet and apologized:
I don’t know anything about MP Hancock, so I can’t judge whether or not this was truly intentional, but it doesn’t strike me as such. Hancock has been known for Twitter goofs in the past, having once tweeted a picture of himself in front of graffiti which read “Fire Cameron!” David Cameron is England’s Prime Minister and a fellow member of the Conservative Party.
There is an obvious lesson here to any elected official on Twitter: Be very, very careful with what you retweet, and make sure you proof any tweet in its entirety. My guess is that, taking a brief, spare moment, Hancock quickly saw a tweet that looked funny, got distracted and hit the RT button – leading to a bit of an international scandal. An elected official who is in the middle of a reelection campaign can ill afford such a mistake. Save yourself the heartache and proof everything that you retweet!