Boris Johnson’s ‘unity’ speech sparked an “overwhelmingly negative response” on social media, with 44 per cent negative sentiment displayed compared to just seven per cent positive.
Mr Johnson was attacked for a lack of substance and a lack of understanding of the EU following his speech which kick-started the government’s “road to Brexit” plan.
Exaggerated optimism, incredulity over continued engagement with Europe and failing to address key issues such as the Good Friday Agreement and Irish border were also among the criticisms of Johnson.
Hashtags used to respond to the speech were #StopBrexit (1184 uses) and #BrexitShambles (526 uses).
Political commentators, who tend to have followers in the hundreds of thousands, led the conversation and were the most negative audience for Mr Johnson’s speech with comments that attracted high levels of social engagement (retweets / likes).
Waffly, bumbling, empty speech. With 13 months to go we need practical answers & details from Govt, not just Boris Johnson bluster. Confirms my view – why on earth is anyone still taking this man seriously?
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) February 14, 2018
Boris Johnson: “Most people have very little understanding of what the EU does. Which is how we managed to convince them to Vote Leave”.
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) February 14, 2018
When Boris Johnson tries to play the unifier today, remember that he was one of the chief architects behind Vote Leave’s scaremongering about Turkey, and one of the authors of the £350m a week NHS lie. Me on @LBC: pic.twitter.com/xlBoBhGGNz
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) February 14, 2018
.@BorisJohnson fails to understand the very real concerns of British business far from reaching out it will drive many to deeper despair
— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) February 14, 2018
Boris Johnson sounding like he doesn’t have a lot of meat in his big speech. Wishful waffle, big words and off-colour innuendo.
— Adam Boulton (@adamboultonSKY) February 14, 2018
Boris has no plans and, I suspect, no intention of cutting EU migration.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 14, 2018