Article for MyLocal News

I have succumbed.

Some months, if not years, after many MPs took up twitter, I have finally become a tweeter.  Someone asked me (on twitter, of course) to explain why but I didn’t think I could really answer it in fewer than 140 characters.  So I will have a stab now.

I suppose the first point to address is why was I resistant in the first place? 

First, I thought it was a craze that would not last.  That was a few years ago, so wrong there.  Second, the only time I heard anything about people using twitter was when they said something foolish.  The solution is not to say anything foolish, I suppose.  Let’s see how that one goes.

Third, for some it could seem addictive and time-consuming.  True, but it doesn’t have to be.  A bit of will-power is needed.

The fourth reason relates to the nature of the role of an MP.  Being an MP is a multi-faceted role. 

First and foremost we represent our constituencies.  Some constituents will follow their MP and will want news about a local MP is up to in the constituency. 

We are also party representatives wanting to make the case that the country does better when our party is in power and that the other lot would make things a lot worse.  MPs will want to communicate that in order to rally our supporters and persuade the undecided (and because we sincerely believe it). 

In my case, I am also a Minister with particular responsibilities.  There will be those interested in tax policy announcements who might want to follow me for information about what the Government is doing.

The point is that the people who might follow my twitter account would be a diverse group.  The political anorak fascinated by my witty and devastating put-downs of Ed Balls might not be that excited about the latest news on the Metropolitan Line. 

Or the local resident interested in the future of schools in the area may have limited interest in news of how our tax reforms have attracted a company to relocate its corporate HQ from Switzerland to the UK.

In other words, just as my job is multi-faceted, so would be my tweets. Unless your interests include South West Hertfordshire news, politics, the economic policy generally and tax specifically (plus a little bit of cricket and football thrown in), not every tweet is for you.  Admittedly, that is a smallish target audience.

In the end, I decided to run the risk of boring the politicos with local news etc because it is a very good way of conveying what I am getting up to.  For example, the weekend after I started tweeting was Small Business Saturday and I was able to set out very quickly what I was doing.

What I hadn’t quite realised is that it was a very good way of keeping up with local news with plenty of local organisations and individuals tweeting on local matters.  It is possible to follow them or search for news on Rickmansworth , Chorleywood or Croxley Green.


 So my recommendation?  If you are not already on twitter, set yourself up and follow me @davidgauke!

But that does bring me to one problem.  Keeping an eye on the number of twitter followers can become a bit of an obsession.  And you can get a little competitive.  A local newspaper pointed out that my constituency neighbour, Mike Penning (@Penning4Hemel), started at much the same time but had fewer followers.  Mike said it wasn’t a competition which is what I would have said if I was a long way behind, as he was. 

A month on, he is still way behind.  I know it really doesn’t matter, but let’s keep it that way!  Remember, it’s @davidgauke.


David holds regular surgeries at various places in the constituency, including Rickmansworth, South Oxhey, Berkhamsted and Tring. 
Forthcoming dates:


22nd June, South Oxhey
6th July, Berkhamsted
20th July, Rickmansworth
2nd August, Tring
13th August, South Oxhey
31st August, Berkhamsted
14th September, Rickmansworth
28th September, Tring
19th October, South Oxhey
26th October, Berkhamsted
9th November, Rickmansworth

Call 01923 771781 to make an appointment.

Record of surgeries

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