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Labour appoints 'Twitter tsar'

Labour appoints 'Twitter tsar'

Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, has been named as Labour's new media campaigns spokesperson

The Labour party has appointed a "Twitter tsar" with the responsibility of encouraging MPs to use new media.

Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, has been made the party's new media campaigns spokeswoman ahead of an election next year that she says will be the first "new media election". A recent study for a newspaper voted McCarthy the most "influential MP" on Twitter - with more than 1,600 followers.

Labour's advisers are buoyant this week because the party thinks it stole a march on the Conservative leader, David Cameron, by using Twitter to get out a defence of the NHS in the aftermath of an attack by Conservative MEP Dan Hannan on the health system.

Though all involved insist the "we love the NHS" Twitter topic grew organically and was not composed of purely Labour activists, the prime minister and his wife Sarah Brown used Twitter to get their defences in first. The "we love the NHS" trending topic was so popular that the site crashed on Wednesday night.

Despite this, and well-known blogs by some Labour MPs, not all party members are so comfortable online and McCarthy has to bring them up to speed.

In an interview with LabourList website, McCarthy said: "Voters will increasingly be searching the web to find out what we think about the issues - all our candidates need to start building up that online collateral from now."

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