Twitter reacts with humour as Theresa May faces confidence vote over Brexit
From David Cameron to potential contenders, Britons on social media were not short of jokes.
British Twitter users have responded to the latest round of political chaos in the only way they know how: humour.
The bid to oust Theresa May got off to a flying start on Wednesday morning as the letter announcing the vote contained a glaring typo, referring to Sir Graham Brady as the “chairmam” of the 1922 Committee.
One Twitter user, @RaeEarl, posted a picture of the letter and asked: “Is a ‘Chairmam’ a posh boy term I haven’t heard yet?”
@Estwebber quipped: “What I’m calling my mum from now on #chairmam”
And the eagle-eyed @OwsWills noted a Wikipedia editor had already amended Sir Graham’s page to reflect his new role as ‘chairmam’.
“Very good, Wikipedia. Very good,” he wrote.
Many Twitter users reflected on the current situation in Westminster as entirely of the Conservative Party’s making, naming David Cameron’s pledge in the 2015 election to hold a referendum on EU membership as the root cause.
“After two and a half years of nationwide chaos & confusion caused by Conservative infighting, the Conservatives have decided to do some more infighting,” wrote radio host James O’Brien.
After two and a half years of nationwide chaos & confusion caused by Conservative infighting, the Conservatives have decided to do some more infighting.— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) December 12, 2018
David Baddiel referenced the famous photo from 2015 which was thought to have damaged then-Labour leader Ed Miliband’s election chances.
“Extraordinary to think that if Ed Miliband could’ve eaten a bacon sandwich slightly less weirdly, none of this might have happened. #NoConfidence #NoBrownSauce,” he tweeted.
Actor Chris Addison, famous for his role as a Labour aide in dark political comedy series The Thick Of It, described the Conservative Party as “essentially the world’s most tedious and deadly sixth-form debating society”.
Fellow actor Will Smith, who played Addison’s Tory opposite number in the same show, wrote: “Hearty congratulations once more to David Cameron on his plan to unify the Conservative Party.”
Hearty congratulations once more to David Cameron on his plan to unify the Conservative Party.— Will Smith (@willsmithwriter) December 12, 2018
Cameron tweeted his support for May but British Twitter did not greet the intervention kindly as his tweet received more than 2,500 replies in less than an hour.
The former prime minister had largely stayed out of the limelight since resigning after the Brexit vote, making a rare reappearance in the headlines in 2017 with the news he had bought a £25,000 garden shed to write in.
“Back in the shed, Dave,” wrote Labour MP Owen Smith in response to his tweet.
Back in the shed, Dave. https://t.co/c6q3whH4GY— Owen Smith (@OwenSmith_UK) December 12, 2018
And many other users took the opportunity to re-share Cameron’s tweet from 2015 when he claimed to give the UK a choice between “stability and strong Government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband”.
Singer Billy Bragg wrote: “This tweet is more evergreen than our Christmas tree.”
This tweet is more evergreen than our Christmas tree https://t.co/4W0xJc9RqJ— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) December 12, 2018
The parallels between the Conservative Party going back on their decision to elect May as leader in 2016 and calls for a second referendum were not lost on many.
@TechnicallyRon wrote: “Wait, so the tories voted for May in 2016, have changed their minds, and want another vote?
“Seems like a good idea I wonder if we can implement this elsewhere.”
Wait, so the tories voted for May in 2016, have changed their minds, and want another vote? Seems like a good idea I wonder if we can implement this elsewhere.— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) December 12, 2018
Author Matt Haig deadpanned: “I don’t know why the Tories keep wanting votes on things.
“I thought we had no more votes on things that were voted on before. I thought that was the way to preserve democracy.”
As Number 10 prepared May for a statement outside Downing Street, journalist Charlie Proctor noticed that a lot of aides appeared to be trying their hand in a prime ministerial role at the lectern.
Other Twitter users were less kind in their predictions on who might stand against the Prime Minister.
Writer and academic Darran Anderson tweeted his “likely candidates to replace May” with pictures of assorted demons from medieval paintings.
The official account for the Leave.EU campaign speculated about Michael Gove’s intentions after he voiced his support for the Prime Minister.
“Michael Gove: ‘I am backing the prime minister 100%.’
“That’s one vote against her then…” posted the account.
Michael Gove: "I am backing the prime minister 100%."— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) December 12, 2018
That's one vote against her then...
Novara Media founder Aaron Bastani, a prominent Labour supporter, tweeted his “guide” to the leading candidates with images of Darth Vader, Skeletor, and Tim Curry’s devil character from 1980s film Legend.
Given the options on the table for May, many Twitter users appeared to show a little sympathy for her position.
“If I was Theresa May I think at this point I’d just fake my own death,” wrote journalist Ellen Coyne.
If I was Theresa May I think at this point I’d just fake my own death.— Ellen Coyne (@ellenmcoyne) December 12, 2018
Abby Tomlinson predicted May’s reaction at the confidence vote on Wednesday evening, with a picture from TV series Peepshow captioned “That wasn’t very christmassy”.
theresa may after the vote of no confidence tonight pic.twitter.com/WK7QQrBNKp— Abby Tomlinson (@twcuddleston) December 12, 2018
Comedian Tiernan Douieb wrote: “I’d have had way more respect for May if she’d just shouted ‘F**K THIS S**T, YOU SORT IT OUT’ then kicked over the lectern, flipped the bird and walked off.”
But sometimes in the darkest of moments there can be support from where we least expect it.
“If it goes wrong tonight I can promise you a bright future in podcasting…” Ed Miliband tweeted the PM.
.@theresa_may If it goes wrong tonight I can promise you a bright future in podcasting...— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) December 12, 2018
The confidence vote in May’s leadership will be held on Wednesday evening.