Labour MP resigns after Rochester by-election Twitter gaffe

The Rochester and Strood by-election last night gave Ukip its second MP in Westminster. Much of the furore surrounded the Conservatives’ determination to “throw the kitchen sink,” at the constituency to defeat Mark Reckless, the Ukip candidate and Tory defector.

But as the day unfolded, it fell to Labour MP and shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry to make the biggest gaffe of them all. Having gone down to Rochester to help with the Labour campaign she was brimming with optimism of a Tory defeat.

She had gone on the offensive, choosing to mock the voters who were voting Ukip as the previous Tory candidate hadn’t helped them enough.

Whilst on the trail, Ms Thornberry tweeted a photo of a house in the Kent constituency, draped in three England flags with a white van parked outside.

It didn’t take long for people to express their outrage, with the public and even some Labour MPs saying that she was out of touch.

Unperturbed, Ms Thornberry continued to take snaps of her day out. It then turned out that she had form for this, having previously tweeted from Bristol.

Some people gave the Labour MP the benefit of the doubt, voicing their confusion as to what the fuss was all about, while her detractors were quicker to react. By the time the polls closed, reports were coming in that a furious Ed Miliband had had two conversations with the shadow attorney general, where it was decided that she would resign.

In a statement, Ms Thornberry said: “Earlier today I sent a tweet which has caused offence to some people. That was never my intention and I have apologised.”

At the end of the sorry episode, the polls showed that Ukip had secured 16,867, nearly 3,000 more than the Conservatives. Labour were destined to come third gaining less than half of the winning total at 6,713.