Commons Twitter account banned from posting vote results after Tory MP complaints

A vote is read out in the House of Commons

A vote is read out in the House of Commons. - Credit: PA

The official Twitter account for the House of Commons has been banned from tweeting results of votes after Tory MPs complained about its impartiality over a key Brexit vote.

The account - launched in 2012 to inform the public about events taking place in the Commons - informs users about debates and votes taking place in the chamber.

But it has been prohibited from tweeting results of votes following complaints, the Guardian reports, with engagement dropping on the social media account since the move.

The ban was in response to a deleted tweet - which was retweeted more than 17,500 times - relating to a defeated amendment over future post-Brexit deals.

The account reported that an amendment “intended to protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services in other parts of the UK from any form of control from outside the UK” was defeated.

The vote lead to accusations that Tory MPs had voted against protecting the NHS - with MPs complaining to the clerk of the House of Commons that it was in breach of impartiality. The tweet was removed with a clarification that it had used the "explanatory memorandum provided by the proposer".

Social media were baffled by the revelations.

"Back to 1770 when it was illegal to report what was said in the Commons!" said Paul Lewis.

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"Imagine being so embarrassed about how you voted that you actually stopped the official House of Commons twitter account from telling people," wrote Labour MP Justin Madders.

"What a joke. If some Tory MPs are embarrassed about votes being published, perhaps they should consider voting differently," noted Liberal Democrat politician Caroline Pidgeon.

A Commons spokesperson said: “Division results are updated in the dedicated CommonsVotes app as soon as possible after the vote. We are aware that numerous commentators already provide analysis of division results, and believe that our responsibility is to provide the result itself as speedily as possible.

“Parliament has also recently invested in a number of new ways of keeping the public updated on parliamentary business and division results, including further development of and ParliamentNow, and we regularly link to these from our Twitter account to keep followers updated.”

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