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Does Theresa have a tattoo? Real PM questions revealed

By Mark Andrews | Politics | Published:

What do people most want to know about leading politicians? Well it's not their position on taxation or their attitude towards devolution that most people are yearning to know.

If the questions asked on internet search engine Google are anything to go by, the burning questions of the day are "Does Theresa May have a tattoo?" and "Is Nicola Sturgeon's hair real?"

Needless to say, neither of these have ever cropped up at Prime Minister's Questions.

A team of data analysts at cyber security consultancy Online Spy Shop looked at Google search data over the past year to see what British web users were most keen to know about top politicians.

It found that another one of the most-asked questions was about whether the Prime Minister is related to former Top Gear presenter.

Strangely, there was far less curiosity in this respect about whether Chancellor Philip Hammond was related May's TV sidekick Richard Hammond. Top searches for him included "What does Philip Hammond do?" and "Is Philip Hammond still Chancellor?"

The research found that Britons were far more interested in the marital status, living arrangements and health of the country's politicians than their actual political beliefs. This is especially true of female MPs.

Liam Fox was the least searched member of the cabinet, while shadow chancellor John McDonnell and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage attracted high volumes of searches about their health.

Female politicians were significantly more likely to be the subject of trivial Google searches relating to issues such as marital status and hair. Indeed the Prime Minister was the only female MP subject to a significant number of searches relating to her actual political views.

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The top searches relating to Home Secretary Amber Rudd, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, shadow education Secretary Angela Rayner, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood were about their marital status.

For questions beginning "Is Theresa May...", the most commonly asked was “Is Theresa May Tory?”, followed by “Is Theresa May related to James May?”, and “Is Theresa May for Brexit?”

For searches beginning with “Does Theresa May...” the top results were “Does Theresa May have a sister?”, “Does Theresa May have a tattoo?”, and “Does Theresa May have Snapchat?”

It seems that there are also questions about which side of the political fence Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sits on.

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For searches beginning with the words "Is Jeremy Corbyn...", the most common Google search was "Is Jeremy Corbyn Tory?", followed by “Is Jeremy Corbyn married?”, “Is Jeremy Corbyn rich?” and “Is Jeremy Corbyn vegetarian?”

For searches beginning with “Does Jeremy Corbyn...” the top results were: “Does Jeremy Corbyn have a wife?”, "Does Jeremy Corbyn support Trident?”, and "Does Jeremy Corbyn want to leave the EU?”

The most common question about Mr Corbyn's deputy, the West Bromwich MP Tom Watson, was about whether he was related to the actress Emma Watson.

Popular questions also included about whether or not former Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister was Dutch, and the meaning of shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornbury's infamous "white van man" tweet.

Steve Roberts of Online Spy Shop said politicians should be cautious about the data and information they share online.

“Without giving ideas to people, it’s surprisingly easy to get hold of an individual’s private information online, especially if they use social media or blogging platforms, which many politicians do," he said.

"The volume of searches made about politicians that suggest this is what people are looking for is quite alarming.

"Our advice is to turn off location services on all devices and when sharing pictures from the campaign trail or at events where people can identify their location, post them once they've left.”

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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