Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Queen Jubilee provokes local cyber-row

Andy Slaughter found himself in the centre of a media maelstrom yesterday as comments from his staffer Matt Zarb, who works in his parliamentary office, threatened to erupt into a full scale political row.

Mr Zarb, using Twitter, had marked the day of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, by tweeting: “"Congratulations this morning to Queen Elizabeth II. 60 years of scrounging benefits off the taxpayer without being caught."

Cue much retweeting and barbed comments by local Conservatives, who immediately tried to infer that Mr Zarb’s comments reflected the views of his boss, who as well as being our MP is also Labour’s frontbench spokesman for Justice.

Initially Mr Zarb was unrepentant, tweeting: “Oh I insulted the Queen. How very dare I.” But after both the Evening Standard and Sky News started running pieces on the affair, while increasingly prominent Conservative figures started weighing in to the argument, his boss was forced to intervene on behalf of his increasingly beleaguered staffer.

Mr Slaughter issued a statement saying: "The Queen has given great service to our country and these comments are totally unacceptable. I've spoken to the member of staff in the strongest terms and he has apologised for his comments."

And soon enough a chastened Mr Zarb tweeted his last for that day with the customary post-interview-without-coffee retraction which you can see below.

All a bit of political football which had little to do with the big issues people really want their politicians to be arguing about, but a lesson in the dangers of social media, as if we needed another one, for politicians and wannabe politicians alike.

Oh, and for the record, I’m a Republican.


  1. Silly boy. For someone who presumably wants a career in politics he didn't think that one through very carefully.

  2. Exactly. One should learn never to speak one's mind in politics. It only gets in the way.

  3. Maybe he should knock the Eurocrats, Fat Cats, Bankers and corrupt Politicians rather than the Queen.

  4. A REPUBLICAN! A REPUBLICAN! Our blogger/reader of blog relationship is hereby ended ;)

  5. A Republican eh? Are you supporting Gingrich or Romney?