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We turned a few knobs and dials on our social media monitoring system to scrutinise the Twitter activity of more than 500 MEPs last week (15-22 February). Not surprisingly, Brexit was their hottest topic. Out of the more than 16,000 tweets posted by MEPs – which sounds a lot but is only about 4 tweets a day per MEP – we’ve ranked the top 10 most popular keywords and hashtags used. The list is clearly dominated by references to the UK referendum and its main actors, including Prime Minister David Cameronand London Mayor Boris Johnson:

Cameron: 1,000 times / Brexit: 868 times (513 #brexit) / Britain: 733 times /Campaign: 662 times / Vote: 564 times/ Referendum: 468 times / Deal: 388 times/ Euco: 366 times / Euref: 318 time / Boris: 203 times /Ukineu: 192 times

If we take a closer look at MEPs using “brexit” in their tweets and retweets as either a word or a hashtag, we can see that the most active users back a UK exit from the EU. In addition to British UKIP and Conservative MEPs, in the top 5 we also have French MEP Dominique Riquet who seems to support a two-speed Europe. Naturally, you’re wondering where is UKIP leader Nigel Farage well, he’s certainly one of the most vocal advocates of the UK leaving the EU and also a heavy Twitter user. But, for whatever reason, he has not been using the word “brexit’ in his many tweets.

Most active MEPs

Proof of Nigel Farage’s popularity is the fact that one if his tweets referring to an article from ‘Daily Express’ mentioning “brexit’ comes up as the most retweeted and liked post from last week. Not surprisingly, MEPs with a larger following are creating bigger digital ripples. In this case, again, tweets by Brexit advocates come out on top. The only tweet in the list against Brexit was posted by Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), claiming that Nigel Farage and Russian President Vladimir Putin alone would benefit from a UK exit from the EU.