Labour hit Hunt’s Budget with meme treatment on social media

The Labour Party’s social media team targeted Jeremy Hunt’s Budget with a number of memes shared to X on Wednesday, using Bob Mortimer, Willy Wonka and Ant and Dec to take on the Chancellor.

Mr Hunt delivered his pre-election Budget including announcements on national insurance, the cost of living and fuel and alcohol duty, but it was set against the backdrop of the UK’s struggling economy, which slipped into a technical recession at the end of 2023.

During his speech, which was widely heckled and interrupted by opposition MPs in Parliament, Mr Hunt and Rishi Sunak also felt the wrath of @UKLabour on social media site X, where they earned thousands of engagements.

The opposition party’s most successful post was inspired by the recent viral Willy Wonka experience in Glasgow which saw parents and children horrified when the fantasy event they were advertised turned out to be a sparsely decorated and underwhelming occasion.

With a picture of a multicolour dreamscape next to a dreary picture of a grey room with a few decorations and props, the Labour post read “How Rishi Sunak says the British economy is doing vs How the British economy is actually doing”.

The post earned more than 6,000 likes and more than a thousand reposts in a couple of hours.

Another widely shared post from Sir Keir Starmer’s party utilised a picture of comedian Mortimer on the panel show Would I Lie To You? – where guests attempt to convince opponents of a truth or a lie – reading from a card.

“I once led the country into recession after my party crashed the economy and still tried to tell people they are better off”, it read, earning thousands of interactions again.

TV presenting duo Ant and Dec were also called into action, with Labour sharing a picture of the pair speaking into microphones to Mr Hunt, telling him, “Now say you’re cutting taxes after giving people the highest tax burden in 70 years” before laughing.

The Conservatives played social media with a straight bat in response, but failed to engage X’s users in the same way as Labour.

Instead, they earned just dozens of likes and shares per post in the hours following the Budget, with announcements such as: “They’ve only gone and done it again!

“Fuel duty is FROZEN for 24/25.

“We will always be on the side of drivers against Labour’s war on motorists.”

Mr Hunt did not fare much better meanwhile, earning a similar number of interactions as his party’s official account with a no-nonsense approach to policy posting.

“We’re cutting taxes again, with a further 2% cut in National Insurance – from 12% in November to 8% in April,” he posted.

“Taken together with the measures at the Autumn Statement, that means someone on the average salary will save around £900 a year.”

While this post earned hundreds of replies, it managed fewer than 100 reposts more than an hour after being posted.

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