MPs discuss impact of Twitter during Labour 'Twinge' event

Former Labour Minister Caroline Flint told a packed crowd at the Labour 'Twinge' event last night that Twitter could be used 'to get your version of the truth out there quickly'.

Speaker: Caroline Flint
Speaker: Caroline Flint

‘It's [Twitter] something I've been giving more thought to, and whether or not you can use it as a more instant way to rebut some of the things that are said [in the media], which I don't think the Press complaints commission helps with that much,' said Flint. ‘It doesn't solve the problem but I do think you can get your version of the truth out there more quickly.'

Flint was speaking on a panel at the Twinge event in Brighton hosted by Channel 4 news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murphy. The event was run by Fishburn-Hedges and other panellists included Ed Balls MP, Tom Watson MP and Labour Twitter czar Kerry McCarthy.

Flint also said she believed that social media could be used as another tool to communicate with the public but is no substitute for knocking on doors.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls used the event to convince sceptics that he does run his own Twitter feed. ‘It's quite hard with Twitter to really prove your authenticity. Everybody still believes that it's not me doing the Twitters [sic], even though there's nobody who's ever put a Twitter up other than myself on the sites and on the net.'

He also admitted that Twitter can be boring. ‘I think sometimes it can be quite dull and it can be boring. But sometimes it's fun and you feel part of something that is bigger.'

Meanwhile, Labour MP Tom Watson denied social media is just for the opposition. ‘The characteristics of social media are great for civic-minded political people. It gives you the ability to communicate cheaply, and the ability for people to form groups with very low barriers to entry. Social media allows us to get straight into a conversation about the issues that we believe in.'

Fishburn-Hedges associate director Simon Redfern said of the event: ‘It was well attended with between 150-200 people present and was standing room only. It became the ninth trending topic on Twitter globally. We were trying to open up the debate and people were genuinely excited that they tweeted a question and it was answered by Ed Balls.'

Fishburn-Hedges will be running a similar event at The Conservative Party conference next Monday. Controversial MEP Danniel Hannan has signed up to sit on the panel alongside blogger Iain Dale and ConservativeHome editor Tim Montgomerie.

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