MPs could be forced to change Twitter usernames before election

Dozens of MPs may be forced to search for a new Twitter name as the general election approaches.

Top tweeter: Kerry McCarthy
Top tweeter: Kerry McCarthy

Ninety-three MPs from all political parties are on Twitter, of whom 39 have put the letters 'MP' in their usernames.

But when the House of Commons dissolves for the election, MPs standing for re-election instantly become Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and are not allowed to refer to themselves as MPs.

Labour's new media campaign spokesperson Kerry McCarthy is one MP affected by the issue. PRWeek has learned McCarthy plans to write to the serjeant-at-arms for clarification.

Social media experts said MPs could face a headache. Game Changer consultant Victoria Roberts has helped to develop the agency's new social media training course for politicians.

She said: 'MPs have the option to change their Twitter names at any time, but only if their chosen name is still available. Their former name then becomes available for others to take.

'This could launch a land-grab for names to silence tweeting MPs. Name-changing MPs will also find themselves unable to receive messages and tweets sent to their former name, which is a massive waste of all their branding efforts to that date.'

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