'A recovering politician' - the new Twitter life of former MPs

By Gavin Stamp
Political reporter, BBC News

Image source, Twitter

For the 60 or so former MPs who aren't standing in the next election, this is the first day of the rest of their lives.

Many have spoken in recent days about how much of a wrench it is to leave Parliament. But life must go on as many remain public figures hoping presumably, in time, to pivot towards new careers.

So how have they updated their Twitter profiles to reflect their change of status?

Several, such as Sir Alan Duncan, Jeremy Lefroy, Louise Ellman and Caroline Spelman, have opted to keep it very factual, pointing out that they are no longer an MP and are not seeking re-election.

Others hint at things to come. David Lidington says he is "exploring fresh pastures" after 27 years as MP for Aylesbury while Mims Davies - who is reportedly in contention for the seat of Mid Sussex after quitting Eastleigh - says she is "now a jobseeker".

Others are more open about seeking elected office elsewhere, Rory Stewart succinctly describes himself as a candidate for Mayor of London.

Vince Cable's profile reads like a mini CV which, as a former Lib Dem leader, Business Secretary and MP for Twickenham, is understandable.

For some, such as Sir Nicholas Soames, Amber Rudd and Jo Johnson, their profiles are for now a blank canvas. There seems to be no mention at all of their time or achievements in Parliament, politics or government - perhaps because they speak for themselves.

Image caption,
Which former MP loves Abba and which prefers Bruce Springsteen?

Philip Hammond needs no introduction either. His profile baldly states that he is a former chancellor of the Exchequer, but there is no reference to the party he represented for 22 years and from which he was recently ostracised.

In contrast, Nicky Morgan's primary description of herself is as a One Nation Tory.

John Woodcock tells his followers it was the "honour of his life" to have been MP for Barrow and Furness for nine years as well as signalling his new role as the government's special envoy on countering violent extremism.

Prize for honesty

Others clearly want to put their time in Parliament - and the Brexit wars of the past few years - behind them. Justine Greening highlights her new social mobility venture and the fact she's an Abba fan.

Owen Smith reminds people that while he is no longer an MP, he is still a campaigner, Remainer, Springsteener and lover of 99 ice creams.

While Keith Simpson refers to himself as a "retired MP" and military historian, Roberta Blackman-Woods says although she is no longer in Parliament, she is definitely not retiring.

But the first prize for honesty must go to Nick Boles, the former MP for Grantham and Stamford, who labels himself as a "recovering politician gradually returning to normal life".

Finally, there are a handful of MPs, most notably Ken Clarke and John Bercow, who never ventured onto social media during their time in Parliament. Will that all change now that are moving onto new things?