The mystery tweeter has a legal and political background
Liz Truss, during her very short tenure as the Justice Secretary, really was the stuff of parody.
But with every cloud comes a silver lining — and Truss’ has got to be the @RealLizTruss parody account. Garnering more than 2,000 followers over the past year, the account treated, and still treats, users to the Norfolk MP’s bumbling antics.
Hands up if your mummies & daddies are in jail.
Now keep your hand up if you plan on following them into our lovely prison system. pic.twitter.com/FsfsU8G128
— Lizzie Truss (@RealLizTruss) May 20, 2017
Its brainchild — an anonymous tweeter whose identity we will return to shortly — tells us why they decided to set up the account:
I launched the account shortly after she was appointed as Lord Chancellor, mainly as a reaction to the slavish praise being lavished upon her as the first female Lord Chancellor… Her past record at Environment had been utterly laughable and I really couldn’t see her being any better at Justice. And how right I was.
Truss turned out to be “a complete clown”, and in that sense an absolute dream to parody. “She really had no clue about the law at all,” the Twitter impersonator continues, “which is why I used to have Lizzie constantly referring to her copy of Reader’s Digest Guide to the Law (1976 ed). Obviously this greatly amused some sections of the legal profession and the account quickly gained over 2,000 followers.”
Number of followers aside, our Justice Sec imitator says it was particularly amusing seeing some of the country’s leading solicitors, QCs and senior civil servants following Truss. Indeed, the likes of PJ Kirby QC, Mukul Chawla QC and Matthew Scott (the blogging barrister) are among her many followers. Even the Ministry of Justice was intrigued:
Not long after I launched the Lizzie account I heard from a contact in the MoJ that they really were keen to find out who was behind the spoof tweets as the account was getting noticed at the top of the ministry. I think the account reflected what they secretly longed to say about her but couldn’t.
Does this mean there are striking similarities between @RealLizTruss and the real Liz Truss? The admin of the account admits it sometimes receives private messages from people who thought they were really getting in touch with the MP, who tweets over at @trussliz. “Of course, I put them straight and have never used any of these DMs,” they say.
Every family in Britain will benefit from our new prisons. I fully expect to be jailing at least one member of every single family by 2020. pic.twitter.com/V9Ia1WLS5a
— Lizzie Truss (@RealLizTruss) May 19, 2017
Given Truss’ firm demotion in last month’s Cabinet reshuffle, our social media enthusiast has had to move on to bigger, bolder things… parodying the new Justice Secretary, David Lidington. It’s already proving more of a challenge:
Whereas Liz provided much of the material herself… Dave is a very different character. I voiced Liz as being nice, but a bit dim and ignorant of the law, prisons, etc, as well as being pretty self-centred and lazy. Dave is still in development, but his main characteristics are being a bit domestic (in his real tweets he calls his wife ‘Mrs L’, so I’m doing the same) and slightly obsessive about dry-cleaning (a reference to his controversial MPs expense accounts).
Lidington’s first few weeks in the job have already garnered some comedic material.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Lidington bizarrely told the veteran TV host that “summer parties” are the key to speculation over Theresa May’s future as the Prime Minister. “I’ve been in parliament 25 years and almost every July a combination of too much sun and too much warm prosecco leads to gossipy stories in the media,” he said. Cue parody Dave’s response:
Now the extent of the Prosecco menace is finally becoming recognised. I snatched these from the hands of a deluded colleague just in time. pic.twitter.com/KjsIOeZ3Wb
— Dave Lidington (@DaveLidington) July 9, 2017
Though Dave hasn’t yet amassed the follower power boasted by Liz, he’s getting there. Up and running for just a few weeks the account has piqued the interest of over 400 tweeters.
I am a great believer in evidence-based sentencing in criminal justice. And I get all the evidence I need from the Daily Mail. A great read! pic.twitter.com/I7FmnW9zEb
— Dave Lidington (@DaveLidington) July 16, 2017
What we’re all dying to know, of course, is: who’s behind these accounts?
Unfortunately Legal Cheek is unable to name names, but we can tell you this:
I will say that some years ago I worked in parliament and have been a senior civil servant. I do have some legal background (I edited a standard legal textbook years ago and have spent quite a bit of time in courts professionally).
But, like the politicians being parodied: “I’m not a practising lawyer of any kind.”
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