Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

How Twitter responded to the news that the UK is holding a snap general election


On Tuesday morning, Prime Minister Theresa May jolted us all out of our post-bank holiday drowsiness with the announcement that she would be, um, making an announcement.

The internet quickly exploded in a frenzy of speculation as to what news May could be planning on breaking. Unscheduled speeches are relatively rare in politics, particularly by heads of state; even more unusual was the fact that nobody seemed to know why May had asked the press to assemble outside 10 Downing Street. Would the prime minister be resigning? Granting direct rule to Northern Ireland? Announcing British airstrikes on Syria? Stating the UK’s support for Donald Trump in his crusade against North Korea?

In the end, the answer was more predictable than any of those options – but it still sent shockwaves around the UK. May confirmed that a snap general election will be held on 8 June 2017, telling journalists that the surprise step “is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond”.

May had previously claimed on several occasions that she would not hold a general election until 2020. However, she said on Tuesday that opposition to Brexit by Labour, Liberal Democrat and Scottish National Party MPs – which she called “political game-playing” – means she felt she had no choice.

Read more: Young, female, well-educated and Scottish? Get ready for more Brexit stress

On Twitter, people – and political parties – were quick to respond to news of the imminent election with all the emotions under the sun – from let’s-do-this enthusiasm to oh-god-do-we-really-have-to political exhaustion.

Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best reactions Twitter had to offer.

Unsurprisingly, leading politicians and parties were quick to say they were ready for whatever an election has in store for them.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was found to be trailing Theresa May by 37 points in the latest YouGov poll, said that he “welcomed” the prime minister’s announcement, adding: “Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our school and NHS.”

Tim Farron, the anti-Brexit leader of former Tory coalition partners the Lib Dems, urged people to vote Liberal Democrat if they “want to avoid a disastrous Hard Brexit”. Farron’s party said it had gained 1,500 new members in the first hour since May announced the 8 June poll.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister and leader of the SNP, argued that SNP-majority Scotland had clearly rejected both Conservative and Labour rule…

… While Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, struck a positive note.

Many Twitter users were quick to compare Theresa May to other famous women.

Several people pointed out that the prime minister had, you know, repeatedly promised that she wouldn’t do this.

Others utilised the power of Peep Show to sum up their feelings about the current state of UK politics.

Many people were busy imagining how the Conservatives’ political rivals might be feeling in the wake of May’s announcement.

One eagle-eyed Twitter user noticed the suspicious timing of the election date: right around the time Donald Trump was supposed to be coming to the UK on his controversial state visit.

On Twitter, many users’ overwhelming mood was one of pure and simple exhaustion.

After the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, the 2015 general election and the Brexit referendum, the upcoming general election this summer will be the fourth major poll to shake up the UK in three years – and that’s not even counting local council elections.

But remember: even if the world of politics doesn’t feel like somewhere you want to be right now, you have a voice. Use it.

And as The Great British Bake Off’s Dr Tamal Ray points out, even if this all goes horribly wrong, we might get something good out of it… Eventually.

Main image: iStock/Twitter



Melania Trump reminds Donald what to do during the National Anthem


Why everyone’s calling Barack Obama an “Instagram husband”

noma 2.jpg

Harry Potter’s Noma Dumezweni delivers spellbinding 'political' speech


Get free tickets to see Call Me By Your Name

17 Oct 2017

“In defence of birthdays: why we should celebrate each and every year”

Writer Kate Townshend on why birthday parties shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of adulthood

17 Oct 2017

Life can be ‘torturous’ for a sex addict, according to an expert

“It sounds like fun... that couldn’t be further from the truth”

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Why you should wear red if you want to succeed

From ancient history to modern catwalks, why are we all so obsessed with red?

by Alexandra Jones
17 Oct 2017

These are the world’s best and worst major cities to live as a woman

London makes the list – and it’s not all bad news for the capital

by Moya Crockett
17 Oct 2017

Your Starbucks Halloween Frappuccino fix is here and it’s fangtastic

Sink your teeth into this

by Megan Murray
17 Oct 2017

This Princess Bride revelation will make you see the film in a new way

It’s been 30 years since it hit the big screen

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017

Hold up, there's an avocado chocolate bar – AND it’s vegan

Don't fight it

by Megan Murray
17 Oct 2017

What is perspecticide and could it be happening in your relationship?

This form of coercive control is incredibly damaging

by Megan Murray
16 Oct 2017