Crisp makers race to distance themselves from Jacob Rees-Mogg after Twitter photo

Kate Ng
Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg tweeted he was a 'Walker's crisps man or Pringles': Jacob Rees-Mogg

Manufacturers of crisps in the UK have sought to distance themselves from Jacob Rees-Mogg after he posted a photo on social media of him alongside Walkers crisps and Pringles.

The traditionalist Tory MP tweeted the photo in reference to a Twitter storm ignited by new chancellor Rishi Sunak when he shared a photo ostensibly endorsing Yorkshire Tea earlier this week.

Mr Rees-Mogg's image showed him sitting at his desk, upon which lay a bag of Walkers Ready Salted crisps and a can of Pringle.

He said: “I can reassure the manufacturers of artisan crisps that they are in no danger, in fact I am a Walker’s crisps man or Pringles when I’m feeling extravagant.”

But as the inevitable backlash from Twitter users began, crisps manufacturers' marketing staff began the delicate process of disassociating themselves from an MP who was removed from last year’s election campaign by his own party after he suggested victims of the 2017 Grenfell tower block fire died because they lacked "common sense".

Perhaps emboldened by the fact they were among those purveyors of savoury snacks not directly implicated in the post, Tyrells was the first to wade in: “Our social media team has never been so chuffed to see someone eat Walkers crisps…”

Walkers waited until the brunt of the storm had died down, responding on its official Twitter account five hours later: “*Checks clock* Is it home time? (Yup, that took 5 hours)”

The company declined to offer an official statement - a decision that inevitably reflects brands' understandable desire not to alienate either critics or supporters of the figure in question - but a source made clear to The Independent it had "absolutely nothing to do with it".

Pringles belatedly addressed the tweet on Thursday, with a message on its official Twitter account saying: "Hey @YorkshireTea, any tips for our Social Media Manager?"

The MP for North East Somerset linked his tweet to an article by trade magazine The Grocer advising social media managers how they can tackle situations like that which Yorkshire Tea found itself embroiled in.

Yorkshire Tea became the target of vitriol after Mr Sunak posted a photo of himself with a bag of tea from the brand, prompting a spokesperson to point out the firm was "not asked or involved".

Mr Rees-Mogg's joke attempt was met with suspicion and derision from social media users, many of whom oppose the politician's ultra-conservative views which have fostered his reputation as a divisive figure.

The staunch Brexit supporter is largely seen by the British public as elitist and right-wing due to his highly privileged background.

One Twitter user said: “First Yorkshire Tea, now Walkers crisps and Pringles. Are Conservative politicians engaged in cynical product placements instead of addressing the serious needs of the country?”

"Eating crummy pub crisps while wearing an immaculately tailored three-piece double-breasted Savile Row suit is calculated to convey, 'I, who am better than you, also enjoy the same things you, my social inferior, do'," said another.

Some people were more concerned about a dark coat and scarf hanging in the background of Mr Rees-Mogg’s photo, calling it a “grim reaper cloak”, while others took issue with the flavour of crisps he preferred.

“Hello fellow peasants, I do like the crisps. I am just like you. Also ignore my grim reaper cloak in the back,” said a Twitter user in an apparent parody of Mr Rees-Mogg.

Comedian David Baddiel also pointed it out and said: “Slightly surprised, given that this is a jolly tweet about crisps, that Jacob hasn’t made more effort to hide his Grim Reaper cloak.”

"No even us peasants eat ready salted crisps you boring bastard," another person added

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