This week, Patrick O’Donnell, Derwent College First Year Student, became an internet sensation after his Instagram account, Patrick The MP, in which he pretends to be Member of Parliament for Clapham went viral! Patrick, who studies Politics and International Relations, started his alternative persona as a MP and “staunch Labour supporter” in March during the run up to the 2017 Snap General Election. The Instagram account satirises the social media presence of politicians, featuring embarrassing e-cards, photos taken out whilst campaigning, photos taken on polling day, choreographed publicity shots, and apologies to constituents for having “turned up to my office with the worst hangover”.
We teamed up with York Vision to talk to Patrick O'Donnell, the York Fresher who's gone viral for pretending to be an MP on Instagram! Read the full story here: https://www.yorkvision.co.uk/features/derwent-fresher-goes-viral-after-pretending-to-be-an-mp/15/10/2017
Posted by YSTV on Sunday, 15 October 2017
On 1st April 2017, Patrick posed outside the Tooting childhood home of Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, which featured heavily in Khan’s political messaging.
There are even political gaffs: a post on the 25th April highlights the phallic gaps in shadow on the Westminster Bridge, a post taken on March 28th after a football game features one of Patrick’s peers, David, pulling lewd gestures from behind the shot:
Patrick said to Vision:
I started the account just for my friends at school, we thought it’d be quite funny. I’d get them into the shots with me as photos.
Patrick’s friend, named on twitter as nasie, tweeted about Patrick The MP on the 12th of October:
my pal has an ig account where he pretends to be an MP pic.twitter.com/EZSO0ukHLG
— rita malone, sewer rat (@ozeiba) October 12, 2017
At the time of publication, the tweet received nearly forty thousand likes, and nearly ten thousand retweets. The tweet “kind of blew up”, Patrick nervously laughed.
Melanie Onn MP for Grimsby retweeted it, joking that Patrick was a “
#fakeMP” because he lacked photos in hard hats. Patrick has also yet to take a photo of himself pointing at a pothole. Patrick said:
Loads of other people retweeted it and someone from Gogglebox did as well, it sort of expanded from there.
This isn’t the first time Patrick has been in the news due to political photographs. On Patrick’s 18th Birthday a chance encounter between himself, former leader of the Labour Party, Ed Milliband, real-life MP for Doncaster North, was snapped and sent anonymously to EyeSpy MP by a bystander.
— Eye Spy MP (@eyespymp) March 4, 2017
Patrick told BuzzFeed News:
“Ed and his wife Justine looked very surprised to see all of us but they were really friendly and happily took lots of selfies with us. There must have been about 30 people in total taking photos with Ed and chatting to him.”
Patrick told Vision :
He’s actually so cool.
Patrick The MP is a staunch Labour supporter, who features Labour policies and issues within his instagram account.
Patrick’s alternative persona has both attracted adoration and criticism online. One Twitter User who didn’t wish to be named tweeted that “patrick the mp is fucking HOT“. Patrick told Vision he was flattered by all of the nice comments on Instagram and Twitter, however he was “keeping people at bay”.
MPs across the UK have suffered from an unprecedented level of online abuse and vitriol in the recent General Election period. According to the New Statesman, there were 25,688 abusive tweets sent to women MPs between 1st January and 8th June 2017, half of which were directed at Dianne Abbott MP.
Whilst both a man and not actually an MP, Patrick did come across quite a few “old men sat behind their computers writing negative comments”, however added that these were “sad people”. Corbyn supporter, Andréas, referred to Patrick as “my quickest milkshake duck“, tweeting “you suck Patrick, Labour has enough real moderate bores, no need for fake ones too”. Additionally, one man, Russell Goff, commented that Patrick “another wannbe professional politician prick”.
In August, another fake MP, “Ana Key”, was reported to the police for pretending to be the MP for “Deptford and Greenwich” by Vicky Foxcroft, the MP for Lewisham and Deptford. Vicky told The Telegraph:
“I have contacted the Security Operations Centre and it has been escalated to the police and Parliamentary Investigation Team.”
Patrick, who is 18, found it “scary” that some people genuinely believe him to be an MP – he has yet to come into any conflict with Vauxhall MP, Kate Hoey, who represents the Clapham area. Patrick told Vision “I’m definitely still Patrick O’Donnell, I haven’t become the MP… just yet.” He says he’s hoping to keep the online persona separate, however he concedes “I do just spontaneously grab my friends and say ‘hey lets do this photo'”. Some of Patrick’s friends support his online persona:
Patrick doesn’t necessarily want to become an MP but does want to be involved in Politics – he currently expresses interest in working for a Non-Governmental Organisation in the future. This year, Patrick plans to become more involved in the UNA and the local Labour Party. Patrick The MP urged Vision readers: “let’s make a country not… awh fuck i’ve forgot it right now… not for the few, for the many”
You can follow Patrick The MP on Instagram: