It’s been a tough week for the Tories on Twitter. First, the Chloe Smith Newsnight debacle saw the social network platform go wild with memes, retweets and, of course, links to the video itself. Then there's Louise Mensch’s new debating chat room, Menshn, which has been roundly attacked as an unnecessary vanity project.
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most entertaining and informative tweeters from the Westminster Village.
John Prescott / @johnprescott
The 74 year old made his name as an overtly combative but ultimately conciliatory deputy PM. In many ways, he was the buffer to Tony ‘Third Way’ Blair’s open flank on the left of the party.
As a tweeter, the former trade union activist is now prolific, often micro-blogging 30 times in one day and seizing upon any chance to bash the Tories with a mixture of bombastic cheer, old school Labour rhetoric and shameless self-promotion.
Here’s his spin on this week’s Chloe Smith/Newsnight interview:
‘Guardian has picked up on my tweets about Osborne cowardly sending out Chloe Smith to save him embarrassment‘
‘Osborne's like the captain of the Titanic. Women and children first!’
Additionally, Prescott is excellent at engaging his followers by trending new topics. This week’s example, #prezzasongs, has inspired the likes of ‘Papa's got a brand new Jag’ - which refers to his derisive nickname when in parliament of ‘Two Jags’, along with ‘He's Got Eggs (and he knows how to use them)’, which refers to the incident when Prescott punched a voter for throwing an egg at him.
William Hague / @WilliamJHague
The foreign secretary’s conservative line of information is the paradigm for the modern elected tweeter. He is formal, direct and authoritative.
‘I will attend Geneva meeting of #Syria action group called by Kofi Annan. Must agree principles for a political transition’
It must be said that much of the interest in following him comes down to the exciting locations he visits as foreign secretary, which in other contexts could be thought of as bragging.
‘Have begun a visit to #Afghanistan with call on President Karzai. British Forces, diplomats & aid workers doing brilliant work here.’
A skilled and entertaining debater, Hague is a master of the political soundbite - a factor noted during his time as opposition leader, and he's now turned this talent to delivering thoroughly engaging epistles.
He’s also disciplined, staying on-topic and rarely commenting on matters outside of his duties as Foreign Secretary.
Matthew Oakeshott / @oakeshottm
The Liberal Democrat peer, who served as front-bench Treasury and Pensions spokesman, generally sticks to financial matters while maintaining a jocular tone.
‘Why have Greeks banned production of Tzatziki +Taramasalata? To avoid double dip recession.’
Frequently outspoken, this week Oakeshott claimed that Barclays' boss Bob Diamond should be "sacked" following controversy over the bank's attempted manipulation of financial markets. He said: "If Bob Diamond had a scintilla of shame, he would resign. If Barclays' board had an inch of backbone between them, they would sack him."
His outrage frequently finds its way into his tweets.
‘What are banks for? Keep your money safe, lend it productively+let you get it when you need it. RBS? Fails all round and pays vast bonuses.’
Alastair Campbell / @campbellclaret
Tony Blair’s teetotal former Director of Communications and Strategy has never been elected, and as such retains a certain amount of independence in his communications, while retaining a distinctive party line.
Campbell is tremendously entertaining, recently courting controversy after criticising satirist Armando Iannucci for accepting an OBE.
‘So @AIannucci OBE joins the Establishment he claims to deride. Malcolm Tucker and I do not approve of honours system’.
Iannucci pithy response - "WMD" - hit home though. Campbell will forever be associated with the flawed strategy leading up to the Iraq war. But in his role as belligerent klaxon for third way politics, he is unchallenged - especially considering the recent revelation that Tony Blair only sent his first text message after leaving office in 2007.