Welcome to the latest edition of This Week on Twitter for Westminster HUB. Our fortnightly look at Twitter’s reaction to the latest and greatest events in the political universe. This week Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn took part in the final Prime Minister’s Questions before the summer recess for Parliament.
Meanwhile the BBC made themselves headline news this week as the corporation revealed how much their stars get paid and caused controversy over how few women and BAME people there were in the bigger wage packets.
Last PMQs Before Summer
For the final time before Parliament and politicians go on their summer recess Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn went head to head over the dispatch box. Not for the first time the pair of leaders clashed over poverty and austerity with Corbyn suggesting the country needed a wage rise but Theresa May hit back with job creation and the increased number of those in work. One Twitter summed up almost the entire PMQ exchange in one tweet.
Corbyn supporters on social media were pleased with the Labour leaders’ performance with some suggesting it was his best display yet. Many were also critical of Theresa May’s performance which some said was full of empty rhetoric and soundbites.
For others on Twitter Jeremy Corbyn, while impressive, was still missing the killer blow which as one user described might have “destroyed,” the prime minister. The two leaders clashed over their party’s record on wages with Theresa May boasting about the Conservative national living wage pledge while Labour were keen to shout about their introduction of the national minimum wage.
The battle over the wages spread from the House of Commons on to social media and the respective parties waged war over their records on wages. The Conservatives account shared their record of 2 million extra people enjoying the national living wage while the Labour press account then hit back with the national minimum wage and what they pledged to do in 2020.
BBC Pay Revealed
Later in the week it was the turn of the BBC to talk about wages. As the corporation is obliged to do, it released the rough wage packets of their leading star performers. The reveal caused controversy both over the actual amount of wages some stars receive but mostly for the disparity over women’s and BAME stars’ pay. It was revealed that radio presenter and former Top Gear presenter was the top earner at the corporation.
In comparison, the BBC’s highest paid female star was Strictly Come Dancing presenter, Claudia Winkleman, who earned a fraction of Chris Evans annual pay. The only other female stars among the corporation’s top earners were news reader, Fiona Bruce, and One Show presenter, Alex Jones.
After the reveal, criticism started to pour in from people across social media including well-known names such as Green Party co-leader, Caroline Lucas. Like many, Lucas was disappointed at the difference in pay between women and their male equivalents.
The BBC Press Office were quick to point out the value for money that licence fee payers get when compared to a few decades ago. They make the point that although the corporation’s stars get well paid the BBC offers better value for money than ever before through more channels, iPlayer and extra radio stations too.
Other members of social media were keen to point out that the orchestrators of the outrage and controversy over the BBC pay were also highly paid and arguably for less output.
Although politicians have gone back to their constituencies and on holiday now for the summer, especially given Theresa May’s precarious position as Conservative leader and with Brexit negotiations continuing throughout the summer. Whatever happens Backbench will be there with the latest news and opinion.
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