Islington’s Tweet row MP praises support

MP Emily Thornberry's picture has caused something of a storm on Twitter Pic: @EmilyThornberry

MP Emily Thornberry's picture has caused something of a storm on Twitter Pic: @EmilyThornberry - Credit: Archant

A beleaguered Islington politician forced to step down from the shadow cabinet has praised the “lovely” support she says she has had from her constituents.

MP Emily Thornberry: 'I grew up on a council estate'

MP Emily Thornberry: 'I grew up on a council estate' - Credit: Archant

Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury MP, was branded a “snob” after she tweeted a house draped with England flags during the Rochester and Strood by-election, under the message “image from Rochester”.

She said she posted the image because she was amazed the house had so many flags that the windows were obstructed, but a furious online backlash led to a dressing-down from Labour leader Ed Miliband and her resignation.

She said: “It’s been very difficult.

“The fact is I made a mistake, and if I offended anybody I apologise.

“I have resigned from the shadow cabinet, and that’s that really.

“But one thing that has worried me is people think I’m stepping down as an MP, which is not true.

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“I will be Labour candidate in May and I would like the honour of continuing to represent my constituency, because it’s the best job in the world.”

Her original tweet, posted last Thursday, prompted some incredibly angry responses.

One, ‏@frank_fisher, posted: “Thanks for the reminder of why no working man should ever vote Labour.

“Every time you think Labour can’t get more repellent, or stupider, they do so. Maybe Ed is the best of them?

“I wish the revolting snob had posted this yesterday.”

Another The Sceptic, (@EnglishSceptic), said: “Somebody flies England flags and drives a van? And Labour wonder why the working class are deserting them en-masse.”

And James Warron, ‏@JamesWorron, chipped in with: “Don’t be alarmed, that’s just a working class person, they are actually often very nice.”

But Ms Thornberry, 54, who entered Parliament as MP for Islington South and Finsbury in 2005 and had been shadow attorney general since 2011, said on the streets of Islington the reaction had been very different.

“It’s been lovely,” she said.

“People have been so nice. I’ve been stopped in the supermarket and at the bus stop.

“I’ve had about 2,000 emails, as well as flowers, cards and chocolates to my office, it’s been really, really lovely.

“I can’t comment on the reactions in the press, they speak for themselves.

“But people from Islington know it’s one of the most deprived areas in the country.

“And they also know I was brought up on a council estate. It’s not as though I’ve never been on one, I’d just never seen a house like that before.

“The reaction to this has shown people make assumptions about Islington, assumptions about me.

“Neither of them is true.”