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Boris vs. Hunt – Historical Twitter Analysis

July 9, 2019 Posted by Sean Walsh Politics 0 thoughts on “Boris vs. Hunt – Historical Twitter Analysis”

The position for our next Prime Minister will be decided on Monday 22nd July by Conservative party members nationwide. In recent weeks there has been substantial press coverage of the final two contenders – Boris Johnson MP and Jeremy Hunt MP. Both men have a high media profile due to past appointments and both have contrasting styles.

Whilst much has been made of their previous policies, character and in particular, views on Brexit, little has been said regarding their past comments on Social Media. With this in mind, our digital intelligence analysts have analysed both candidates full Twitter history dating from 20th May 2010 to 12th February 2019 in order to better understand – “what does our potential future Prime Minister actually tweet about?”.

Key Highlights

  • Boris Johnson has mentioned the UK’s largest cities (by population – Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Sunderland and Bristol) just twice compared to his 68 mentions for London.
  • Scotland is mentioned just 4 times by Jeremy Hunt and 0 by Boris Johnson. Wales is never mentioned in any of Boris Johnson’s tweets. Though in the last few weeks (since the campaigning for PM) we have seen a significant increase in discussion about Northern cities/regions and Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland.
  • England accounts for 70% of all tweets regarding nations in the United Kingdom by both MPs.
  • There are just 3 tweets concerning poverty, homelessness or unemployment from both candidates combined. Tweets relating to “taxes” feature 30 times for Hunt and 21 times for Johnson.
  • Boris Johnson mentioned Russia, North Korea and Iran consistently, though this reflects his former position as Foreign Secretary.
  • Neither candidate discusses illegal drug usage, policy or prevention.
  • Boris Johnson name-checked Jeremy Corbyn 55 times – more than Theresa May and David Cameron combined.
  • Boris Johnson’s most talked about topic is in reference to his constituency.
  • Neither candidate has ever tweeted about MP expenses.
  • Brexit was mentioned just 98 times in total.
  • Johnson has never had a direct 1-2-1 conversation with anyone on Twitter and tends to broadcast content about himself. Boris Johnson talks about himself 8.8x more than other people whilst Jeremy Hunt talks about himself 4.1x more.

What we’ve been looking at

Our team decided upon a number of key talking points and issues that have proved to have be important in the last few years. Below is a table outlining the frequency of phrases or keywords related to that topic for each candidate.

The tweets are taken from the date range (20th May 2010 to 12th February 2019) before their candidacy was announced and are based on 1,420 for @BorisJohnson and 2,783 tweets for @Jeremy_Hunt – retweets have been removed from the data.

Boris Johnson vs. Jeremy Hunt on Twitter

Small print: Where appropriate we have accounted for misspellings, abbreviations, initialisms and alternative ways of referring to the issue. Where there are too many alternative references these have been combined into a topic.

Analysis broken down by topic area


  • Both mention London 65+ times on their social media.
  • Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Sunderland & Bristol are mentioned 60 times in total, but mainly by Jeremy Hunt (who is usually referencing a medical facility as part of his job as Heath Secretary).
  • Boris Johnson never mentioned Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield or Sunderland.


  • Boris Johnson has never mentioned Scotland or Wales in 1,420 tweets.
  • Hunt has mentioned England 85 times and Wales 30 times. Scotland only 4 and Northern Ireland only once.
  • Countries in the union are mentioned 124 times, therefore England is mentioned 70.2%, Scotland 3.2%, Wales – 24.2% and Northern Ireland – 2.4%.
  • Boris Johnson has mentioned Syria 83 times but there is only one mention of ‘Syrian refugees’.
Breakdown of tweets about each country in the United Kingdom


  • Keywords ‘poverty’, ‘homeless’ and ‘food banks’ are rarely mentioned.
  • Boris Johnson – discussed ‘poverty’ once in 1,420 tweets. 
  • Jeremy Hunt has never mentioned food banks, homelessness or poverty but has mentioned unemployment twice in 2,783 tweets. 


  • Boris Johnson has mentioned Labour 35 times.
  • Jeremy Hunt has mentioned Labour 179 times.
  • Boris Johnson has mentioned Ed “Miliband” 16 times and current Labour leader Jeremy “Corbyn” 55 times
  • Jeremey Hunt mentioned Ed “Miliband” 32 times and Jeremy “Corbyn” 14 times

Prime Ministers

  • Boris Johnson has used the terms ‘PM’ and ‘Prime Minister’ 38 times
  • Jeremy Hunt has used these phrases 56 times.
  • References to the Prime Minister (David Cameron or Theresa May) were most prevalent in 2015 and 2017 (both election years).
  • Jeremy Hunt speaks about Cameron – 51 times, and May – 19 times.
  • Boris Johnson mentions Cameron – 13 times and May 50.

Other Political Parties

  • UKIP has 7 mentions overall across these tweets
  • Lib Dems are mentioned just once.
  • Labour have 214 mentions combined from both candidates with Jeremy Hunt accounting for 83.6% of these tweets.

What about Brexit?

We made a decision to not include stats about Brexit based on a few factors:

  • Both candidates have stated they want Brexit to happen, so we felt it would be more interesting to look at their policies and how they would shape the country post-Brexit
  • We also felt that Brexit inevitably would be the most talked-about topic. That being said… Brexit is inescapable from the media but not as mentioned by the two candidates as much as you would expect.

Hunt mentioned Brexit just 25 times whilst Johnson mentioned it 73 times during our sample range. This isn’t much of a surprise considering Johnson’s leading role in the Leave campaign.

However, it is surprising that Brexit wasn’t the most discussed topic for the tweets analysed. Instead, content was clearly more focused on criticism of Labour, London-centric and in relation to their own constituencies.

So what do they talk about?

To get a better understanding of their favourite topics outside of politics we’ve collated all of the candidates tweets and visualised them into a word cloud. The larger the word, the more prominently it features in their tweets:

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt’s word cloud generated from 2,783 tweets

Unsurprisingly, Hunt’s most discussed topic is regarding the NHS, an institution that he oversaw as Health Secretary for just under 6 years. Associated words such as “health”, “care”, “staff” and “patients” all feature heavily.

Much of Hunt’s tweets are positively focussed, which is expressed through usage of language like “forward”, “great”, “can”, “good”, “thanks” and “brilliant”. This positive language is often applied to his initiatives within the NHS and arguably to counter criticism faced regarding cuts to the NHS during his tenure.

Hunt directly replies or opens conversation with other users 264 times from 2,783 tweets (9% of all tweets), with most of his content being statements broadcasted to his followers. Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, is who he tweeted to the most in direct conversation.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson’s word cloud generated from 1,420 tweets

Like Hunt, Johnson’s content is reflective of his cabinet position as Foreign Secrerary. Language such as “Syria”, “Russia”, “nato”, “Yemen” “security”, “trade” and “Brexit” are substantially more discussed than domestic issues.

Language such as “Syria”, “Russia”, “nato”, “Yemen” “security”, “trade” and “Brexit” are substantially more discussed than domestic issues.

Like Hunt, there is a common frequency for positivity in his content with “delighted”, “fantastic”, “great”, “forward” and “together” featuring heavily.

Interestingly, Johnson does not use Twitter to have direct conversations with users. 100% of his tweets analysed are broadcast tweets – meaning he never replies to users or opens up direct 1-2-1 conversation with individuals.

How easy are their tweets to read?

We also analysed the tweets to determine a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level. The Flesch-Kincaid grade was famously used by the US Navy to determine the readability of language to indicate how difficult certain text in English is to understand. This also provides us with an estimated reading age required in order to understand the tweets.

To provide an idea of scoring, it is recommended to aim for a score of 8.

Jeremy HuntBoris Johnson
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level7.37.7
Reading Age Required12.312.7
Words per sentence9.797.47
Syllables per word1.621.73
You/Me RatioTalked about himself 4.1 x than othersTalked about himself 8.8 x than others

Both politicians are slightly below the recommended grade level score of 8, though Boris Johnson is closer. Whilst Hunt uses longer sentences, Johnson is more concise and uses more complex language. It is worth noting that the scores are skewed on the basis that most tweets (during the time period) would have been intentionally simplified in order to keep within a 140 character limit.

Interestingly though, Johnson talked about himself 8.8 times more than others, perhaps supporting criticism that he is more self-serving than his candidate.

The Independent Group has shaken up Parliament and seen a huge growth in followers across social

February 26, 2019 Posted by Sean Walsh Politics 0 thoughts on “The Independent Group has shaken up Parliament and seen a huge growth in followers across social”

Both the Conservative and Labour Party have suffered a huge blow to their position in Parliament and their overall brand in the last week , as eleven Labour and Tory MPs abandoned their parties, citing issues ranging from Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Brexit and his inability to deal with alleged rampant anti-antisemitism to the need for a second referendum on exiting the EU.

Chukka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Ann Coffey and Joan Ryan  all handed in their resignations and revealed that they were now part of the wider ‘Independent Group’, and were joint by former Conservative members Anna Sourby, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen. This is not yet a party, but there is speculation that discussions are being held across both Labour and the Conservative parties, with some considering joining these ‘centrists’ in order to force a different vision for Brexit and the country as a whole.

The emergence of a new political group is always fascinating to watch, and indeed Labour has faced these problems in the 80s with the birth of the SDP. However, in the 80s political messages were mostly reserved for the Houses or the press, however in the 21st century The Independent Group has the opportunity to explore different channels in order to appeal to the general public, and one of the most potent examples of this is social media. Therefore, the analyst team here at Acuity, have analysed just how much these rogue MP’s profiles have grown in the last week, since the press conference and indeed whether the Independent Group has attracted followers in it’s first week.

The MPs

We have taken a look at the MPs’ Twitter, Facebook & Instagram account, and the table below highlights the overall stats across these platforms:

MP Day of Resignation Feb 26th Followers (+/-) Followers Growth
Anna Sourby 129,131 12,164 12,164 9.42%
Heidi Allen 37,965 50,040 12,075 31.81%
Chukka Umunna 416,651 348,352 8,117 1.95%
Sarah Wollaston 64,70 72,027 7,319 11.31%
Luciana Berger 104,838 18,146 6,606 6.30%
Angela Smith 23,142 101,128 3,336 14.42%
Mike Gapes 31,414 35,947 3,165 10.08%
Chris Leslie 35,581 40,033 3,031 8.52%
Gavin Shuker 15,915 28,123 2,886 18.13%
Ann Coffey 12,965 16,892 2,725 21.02%
Joan Ryan 14,472 16,546 2,074 14.33%

It is worth noting that Twitter is by far the most important platform for these MPs, with some having no presence on Instagram, a curious decision considering the more youthful demographic, and significant smaller follower count on Facebook. Twitter continues to be the tool which drives discussion and policy announcement online. Moreover, to adequately see the peak in interest for these figures, you need only look at the fact that in the whole of January Umunna saw his Twitter followers increase by 6,880 and yet over the last week that’s risen by 8,117. In fact, Umunna is a key figure within the Labour Party online with only Corbyn & Miliband (leaders) as well as David Lammy having a greater presence on Twitter. A less familiar figure such as Gavin Shuker acquired only 40 new followers in January and yet his exit from the Labour Party has led to 2,886 more following him. As you can see these MPs have seen considerable growth since the announcement, with Umunna increasing his overall following by just under 2%, whilst the likes of Ann Coffey and Joan Ryan have seen a big boost in their growth rates since their exit. Indeed, Tory Heidi Allen has the second highest number of new followers and consequently the strongest growth rate over the last week.

Sceptics of the Independent Party have argued that the move is purely for PR purposes as the politicians involved want to be more recognisable publicly and this was a good way to achieve this, and if that were to be true, it;’s fair to say their growth on social media has certainly matched their early ambitions.

The Group

Additionally, it’s important to look at the group as a whole, The hashtag for the group is #ChangePoltiics and it;s fair to say there has been a demand for a new type of politics, particularly in response to the current problems with Brexit. However, has social media taken to the Independent Group and how many followers in seven days.

Platform Followers
Twitter 190,800
Facebook 9,190
Instagram 5,598

As of this data being analysed the account has nearly 206,000 followers across social media. Obviously, a new exciting group being formed will attract casual viewers, journalists, opponents as well as supporters but it is also worth noting that within a day the group gained more followers than Plaid Crymu and the DUP, who famously hold seats in Parliament. Moreover, Labour, Tories and Lib Dems only saw 4,680 new followers since February 18th,  suggesting, at least on social media there wasn’t a huge backlash wave of new support for the traditional parties. As previously stated, the emergence of a new group will always generate buzz in the short term and many people may already follow Labour but are intrigued by the Independent Group. That being said, the growth has been impressive and suggests that, at least on social media, the group has a base to which is can express its views.

What does this mean?

Arguably The Independent Group is yet another sign that traditional politics is being consumed by Brexit and in-fighting. In the last two years we have seen various internal fighting within major parties, whether it be Brexiteers demanding the resignation of Theresa May and holding vote of no confidence, or Blairites issuing challenges for Jeremy Corbyn. The issue of leaving the EU has clearly exasperated the situation for these Conservative and Labour MPs, as well the abuse that Jewish MP Luciana Berger passionately expressed during their initial press conference. The big question now, is whether these MPs will stand in a by-election and how powerful they could be in deciding the future of the country. One thing is for sure, across social media they have set up a strong foundation and in Chuka Umunna they also have a politician who is very prominent in the space, and rising daily.

Brexit sees Rees Mogg & Lammy Twitter profiles surge

January 21, 2019 Posted by Sean Walsh Politics 0 thoughts on “Brexit sees Rees Mogg & Lammy Twitter profiles surge”

To describe 2018 as an ‘interesting’ year for British politics would be something of an understatement. The chaos and gridlock regarding Brexit has continued, the anger and division within the country has grown and there still seems to be no front-runner in terms of a solution to the UK’s plan to leave the EU.

Over the last 12 months, we have seen the rising popularity of ideas that would have appeared outlandish in the months following the Referendum. On the right of the Conservative Party we have a figures such as Boris Johnson pushing for a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, whilst throughout Parliament there are vocal MPs, like David Lammy and Vince Cable angling for a People’s Vote, which could potentially reverse the outcome in 2016.

Consequently, in the digital age we believed it would be interesting to study how parties and public figures have been affected on social media in the last 12 months. Has Jeremy Corbyn’s growth far superseded Theresa May’s? Which politician has grown the most? In this post, we will discuss the growth of politics in the UK across Twitter, the platform most commonly used by MPs and a source for instant news in the 21st century.

MPs Twitter Growth in 2018

We have analysed nine different political figures and their growth over the last 12 months on Twitter and this ranges from Jeremy Corbyn to Nigel Farage.

LABOUR January 1st December 31st Growth (+/-) Followers
Jeremy Corbyn 1,670,000 1,890,000 13.17% 220,000
David Lammy 279,050 420,750 50.78% 141,700
Sadiq Khan 847,820 963,820 13.68% 116,000
CONSERVATIVES January 1st December 31st Growth (+/-) Followers
Theresa May 450,520 725,200 60.97% 274,680
Boris Johnson 395,500 504,890 27.66% 109,390
Jacob Rees-Mogg 89,030 215,900 142.50% 126,870
OTHER January 1st December 31st Growth (+/-) Followers
Nigel Farage 1,100,000 1,240,000 12.73% 140,000
Nicola Sturgeon 852,360 939,160 10.18% 86,800
Vince Cable 125,530 151,600 20.77% 26,070

Interestingly, it is clear that Twitter users have flocked to alternative politicians during the Brexit debate. Huge growth rates for David Lammy and Jacob Rees-Mogg goes to show how a constant media presence, combined with active social media, has helped these two politicians grow their following.

David Lammy

The MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, has seen his profile rise in the last 12 months by a huge +50%. This is likely a reaction to the Lammy pushing for a People’s Vote due to the delays and problems with Brexit. Furthermore, his follower number now makes him the 5th most followed MP in Parliament, with fellow Remainder and Second Referendum advocate Caroline Lucas coming in 6th.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Rees-Mogg has a growth rate of 143%, which points to his politics and often vocal opinions resonating with the people and press powerfully in 2018. Furthermore, he has even acquired more followers in 2018 than Boris Johnson who is consistently linked with the Number 10 job after May. The Mogg effect is clearly a consequence of the Leave supporters desire to see a hard Brexit, however it also reaffirms that we are living in a period where the ‘outsider’ is generating a lot of support from the general public. This was a trend, arguably started by Farage in the 21st century, and coincided with his major victory in 2016’s Leave vote.

Definitive and vocal politicians popular on Social Media

It’s become clear in the last twelve months, that the public’s interest in alternative political figures has grown hugely. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s commitment to Brexit has seen his influence on Twitter grow, whilst Lammy’s support for a People’s Vote has had a similar effect. This marries up with the popular notion, that traditional politicians are being sidelined due their apparent inability to deal with the current crisis. Criticism that traditional politicians often communicate in a sanitised, rhetorical and vague manner, has perhaps helped fuel the growth of alternative politicians such as Rees-Mogg and Lammy (who are notable for their direct, clear and sometimes controversial approach).

So what do these charts mean? How important is social media, and in this case Twitter? Primarily, that the parties have continued to grow at a  similar rate and there is very little to suggest a huge shift in followers, which considering the focus on Brexit, is understandable.

It should be no surprise that Johnson, Farage, Mogg and Lammy hold no to minor sway in the Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet. However, it is worth noting that the leaders of the main two parties are still the leaders in followers, and May’s growth has been strong in 2018 and yet the question remains is this simply due to people’s desire to see some leadership from the PM, or a genuine support for her ideas.

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