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Too much Twitter and not enough politics? Minister hits back at criticism of social media use

PUBLISHED: 12:17 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:25 01 May 2018

Elizabeth Truss MP. Picture: Ian Burt

Elizabeth Truss MP. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

Her Instagram and Twitter accounts are a window into the world of a top-flight politician, revealing how she juggles the demands of red boxes and ministerial meetings with ordinary family life.

South West Norfolk MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss talking to Norfolk Constabularys Moonshot team. Picture: Fiona WalkerSouth West Norfolk MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss talking to Norfolk Constabularys Moonshot team. Picture: Fiona Walker

But now cabinet minister Elizabeth Truss has hit back after coming under fire for her use of social media, with opponents saying she should spend less time Tweeting and more time resolving the country’s issues.

Ms Truss’ Instagram account shows everything from the chief secretary to the Treasury holding high-powered meetings at Number 11 Downing Street to her relaxing on a Norfolk beach and enjoying a hearty breakfast.

She regularly posts pictures of her meals, including burgers, pizzas and a chili-dog.

But while the South West Norfolk MP says her posts keep people amused and allow her to engage with the public, her Labour shadow in the House of Commons - Peter Dowd - took a dim view of her having fun while others in the country struggle.

“The trebling of tuition fees, the abolition of maintenance grants and the sale of the student loan book have ensured that students leaving university today will be the most indebted in our country’s history,” Mr Dowd, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said in a House of Commons debate.

“Meanwhile, the NHS moves from a winter crisis to a spring crisis — and it will go on to a summer crisis — and the staff who run it continue to struggle.

“Under the Conservatives, they find themselves understaffed, underpaid and under-appreciated.

“While Rome burns and our public services crumble, the chief secretary can be found Instagramming and Tweeting selfies of herself at the despatch box with other Treasury ministers.”

But Ms Truss was having none of it, immediately taking to Twitter - the very medium she was being criticised for using - to brand Labour as “killjoys”.

She Tweeted: “Not seeming content to seek to ban Uber and AirBnB, Labour are now having a go at my Insta account...#killjoys #houseofcommons.”

Later, Ms Truss said: “Labour obviously have no sense of humour and I keep people updated and amused - social media is great way to engage with the public.”

What do you think? Should Ms Truss use Twitter and Instagram more or less? Leave a comment on our website or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk


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