16:39 Friday 24 January 2014

Candidates give voters a big tweet


THE general election may be more than a year away – but the rivalry between two men vying to represent Uttoxeter in Parliament from 2015 is already heating up after the pair became embroiled in an extraordinary Twitter spat.

In the blue corner was the town’s current incumbent, Tory MP Andrew Griffiths, who went toe-to-toe from behind the keyboard with Labour candidate Jon Wheale as they squabbled over who was best placed to represent the town in the years to come.

Arguments raged on for more than 20 tweets on issues including place of birth and how many visits had been made to constituency businesses.

At one point, the MP advised his opponent to back out and pour himself ‘a very stiff drink’.

The row was sparked after Mr Griffiths tweeted his delight at East Staffordshire’s latest unemployment figures, seizing on the fact unemployment rates in the borough had fallen by 60 per cent since the Coalition Government came into power in 2010.

He asked his followers why they would ‘risk’ putting power in the hands of Labour again, which drew a swift response from the Burton and Uttoxeter Constituency Labour Party – which argued the figures did not take into account Christmas job losses.

Mr Griffiths was riled by a comment from the Burton and Uttoxeter branch of the party’s Twitter account which said they ‘knew what was actually happening’ and were not ‘just repeating statistics’.

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