08:00 Tuesday 06 November 2012

Social networking is the 'perfect tool' for town's MP

Written byROB SMYTH

BURTON’S MP has been named a top tweeter and has proclaimed that social networking is a ‘perfect tool to engage and talk to people in the town’.

Andrew Griffiths
Andrew Griffiths

Andrew Griffiths came out top when compared to compatriots South Derbyshire MP Heather Wheeler and North West Leicestershire’s Andrew Bridgen in terms of the number of followers the trio have amassed on social networking site Twitter.

Mr Griffiths topped the local pile with 2,234 followers, with Mr Bridgen next up with 1,846 and Mrs Wheeler with 1,787, as listed in a new report by think tank Parliament Street.

Mr Griffiths told the Mail: “Social networking, via either Facebook or Twitter, is a instant and cheap way for MPs to speak with constituents.

“You can get feedback, whether it be good or bad, on a whole range of issues.

“A recent example of me using Twitter was during the beer duty escalator debate in parliament.

“Throughout the debate, lobbying the Government to axe the controversial beer tax, I was speaking with hundreds of publicans and brewers, and you are able to pass on information and get responses as things happen.

“It has also been made easier recently after the speaker changed rules so smartphones and tablets can be used during debates.

“I sometimes can tweet 20 to 30 times a day, even more, if there is a big enough issue, but sometimes I won’t at all.

“Social networking is a perfect tool to engage and talk to people in the town.”

Labour MP Tom Watson was the most popular tweeter with 92,518 followers while Dai Havard, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, was the least popular with 56.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has 6,694 followers.

Mr Bridgen, Mr Griffiths and Mrs Wheeler all fell short of the average number of followers for MPs, which was just under 4,000 and the report also stated that some parliamentarians have been told they need to drastically improve their social media skills to tackle apathy and re-engage the public interest in politics.

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