TikTok has been banned on all government phones in the UK amid security concerns around the video sharing app.
Speaking on Thursday, cabinet office minister Oliver Dowden, confirming TikTok will be banned on Government devices following a review, told the Commons: “It’s clear there could be a risk around how sensitive Government data is accessed and used by certain platforms.
“As many colleagues will know, social media apps collect and store huge amounts of user data, including contacts, user content and geolocation data. On Government devices, that data can be sensitive and so today we’re strengthening the security of those devices in two key respects.
“First, we’re moving to a system where Government devices will only be able to access third party apps that are on a pre-approved list. This system is already in place across many departments, now it will be the rule across Government.
“Second, we’re also going to ban the use of TikTok on Government devices. We will do so with immediate effect. This is a precautionary move. We know that there is already limited use of TikTok across Government but it is also good cyber hygiene.
“Given the particular risk around Government devices which may contain sensitive information, it is both prudent and proportionate to restrict the use of certain apps – particularly when it comes to apps where a large amount of data can be stored and accessed.”
TikTok said it was “disappointed” with the Government’s decision to ban the video-sharing app from official devices. “We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics, in which TikTok, and our millions of users in the UK, play no part,” a spokesman said.
“We remain committed to working with the Government to address any concerns but should be judged on facts and treated equally to our competitors. We have begun implementing a comprehensive plan to further protect our European user data, which includes storing UK user data in our European data centres and tightening data access controls, including third-party independent oversight of our approach.”
Meanwhile, deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said that the government were "late to the game" highlighting that the United States and European Commission already had bans in place.
With this in mind here is a list of all the MPs and UK political figures who have their own individual TikTok accounts.
10 Downing Street
Date of first TikTok: May 10 2022
Boris Johnson joined TikTok in May 2022, after he recorded his first message on the new @10downingstreet account.
Since posting the clip it has already received over 3.2m views, 205,000 likes as well as 45,000 comments where let's just say viewers are speaking their minds.
A second video was posted which showed a preview for a Q&A video with Johnson and then ministers Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel and Sajid Javid on "this government's priorities ahead of the Queen's Speech 2022."
Despite the ban, No 10 has appeared to suggest it could exercise a “specific exemption” to keep its TikTok account open for communication reasons following a decision to ban the video-sharing app on Government devices.
Zarah Sultana MP - (Lab)
Date of first TikTok: January 1 2021
The #Tories hand bankers a £1bn tax cut while slashing social security & hiking NI. They’re ressponsible for the cost of living crisis. #ukpolitics
Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South has the biggest following out of all the MPs on TikTok with a platform of 400,000 followers.
From reposting the speeches she made in the House of Commons holding the Tories to account, as well as TV appearances - her most popular video has 1.8m views where she called on Johnson to resign as she filmed herself running to get a seat in the Chamber.
Sultana is a TikTok pro when it comes to creating content as she shares a daily in the life of her job role, or sums up a vote she has just participated in. Some of her most recent videos include showing off her fighting skills at a boxing session in her constituency to sharing a snapshot of what her Ramadan 2022 looked like.
Nadia Whitthome MP (Lab)
Date of first TikTok: February 20 2020
MPs are getting a £2,200 pay rise. I will continue to take home £35k and donate the rest to my community. #politics #parliament #fyp #labourparty
As the UK's youngest MP, it's no surprise that Nadia Whittome, the Labour MP for Nottingham East, is active on TikTok, and regularly posts an array of content.
Whittome's popular videos include explanations of different policies, with her most viewed video (501,000) where she talks about why she donates part of her salary to local communities.
She also reposts clips from the House of Commons and TV appearances, as well as footage from the 'Kill the Bill 'protest outside Parliament, and a vigil in Nottingham City Centre for Ukraine.
Dr Luke Evans MP (Con)
Date of first TikTok: February 6 2020
Dr Luke Evans, the MP for Hinckley and Bosworth, is one of the most popular Tory MPs on TikTok (after Johnson) with more than 42,00 followers. He shares his day-to-day life representing his constituents and reposts clips from appearances in the Commons and on TV, as well as videos about his body image campaign.
He regularly replies to comments from viewers and provides explanations on a range of political processes - his most popular video at over 700,000 views is where he explains why MPs slouch in the Commons.
Evans also includes some cameos from other Tory MPs and ministers including health secretary Sajid Javid, transport secretary Grant Shapps, and culture secretary Nadine Dorries (where she made that "downstream" gaffe).
Grant Shapps MP - Secretary of State for Transport (Con)
Date of first TikTok: December 21 2021
Transport secretary, Grant Shapps is also a Tory TikToker with over 14,000 followers as he posts content of himself in the Commons and also out and about in his ministerial role too.
His videos range from answering viewers' questions about the job to advertising the Great British Rail sale (with the help of a greenscreen and some shades), and even taking part in TikTok trends such as the "My 'THE' Photo" challenge.
Shapps' most popular video is of him filming himself in front of a Russian Oligarch's yacht that had been detained in London due to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Shapps will continue to use TikTok on his personal phone while taking security precautions.
A spokeswoman said: “Grant has never used TikTok on Government devices and believes security measures – like not sharing location permission – are sensible.
“However, he is concerned that representatives of the people who deliberately choose not to engage with the public on the platforms that they actually use are unlikely to continue to represent these voters for long.”
Nadine Dorries MP - (Con)
Date of first TikTok: March 20 2022
Prince Charles will read the Queen's Speech for the first time today#queensspeech #ukpolitics #news #government #thequeen #princecharles #parliament
Nadine Dorries also joined TikTok in March 2022.
There are snippets from her TV appearances, along with answering questions from viewers about her job, as well as art gallery recommendations to visit (being the Culture secretary and all).
Her most popular video has 40,000 views and is in response to a question from a viewer who asked if Dorries if she is still against same-sex marriage or if she had changed her mind. In the clip, Dorries described voting against same-sex marriage as one of her "biggest regrets."
Dehenna Davison MP (Con)
Date of first TikTok: May 17 2020
Dehenna Davison, MP for Bishop Auckland, was named by The Times as the "TikTok MP," with her posting content from behind the scenes during her GB News appearance, to putting her makeup on to Taylor Swift's Ready For It? with transitions as she gets ready for work.
Currently, she has more than 1,947 followers but hadn't been active on the app since March until she posted a TikTok on May 10 showing the number of letters she receives from her constituents.
Davison's most popular TikTok has over 15,300 views where she filmed herself showing how she blocks people leaving "shady comments" to NSYNC's Bye Bye Bye - "I’m here to share fun content about MP life, not to get into political mud slinging," she wrote in the caption.
Marco Longhi MP - (Con)
Date of first TikTok: April 30 2020
👀 a 4 day working week with @zarahsultanamp #ukpolitics #politicalmemes #meme #labour #conservative #parliament #leeanderson
Marco Longhi, MP for Dudley North is a regular on TikTok as he often posts content ranging from clips from the Commons, a day in the life of an MP, enjoying some gelato and sharing his anger at Oxford University students "cancelling the Queen" for wanting to remove her portrait.
But Longhi's most popular video which has 93,000 views is a response to Labour's Zarah Sultana wanting to implement a four-day working week, to which Longhi responded with a rehearsed skit with fellow Tory MPs who dropped the zinger: "Does that mean Labour MP's will have to work two extra days per week?"
Matt Hancock MP - (Con)
Date of first TikTok: 28th March 2020
Can't believe it was two years ago today that we delivered the first vaccine in the world and I cried on TV for the first time. So embarrassing 😳
Hancock joined TikTok when he was still health secretary in March 2020 and would regularly post health guidelines surrounding the Covid pandemic.
However, since he made the transition to a more tragic- Alan Patridge- esque public figure his output has become even more cringe. One of his most popular clips has more than 2 two million views and simply features Hancock reminiscing about the time he cried on Good Morning Britain after the first Covid vaccine was given in the UK. Looking back at the moment, Hancock called it "embarrassing."
Hancock is one of the most popular and active MPs on the platform and has more than 180,000 followers.
Jeremy Corbyn MP - (Lab)
Date of first TikTok: July 3 2022
The former Labour leader, despite his popularity with younger voters has 62,000 followers on the platform, which is still impressive but nothing compared to his 2.5 million followers on Twitter.
Corbyn's most popular video has more than 300,000 views and is from a speech at an anti-austerity rally. Other videos include him speaking in the House of Commons, standing up for working people and highlighting the efforts that he and others made to stop the influence of Vladimir Putin in the UK.
Ed Balls - former Shadow Chancellor and Labour MP - an honourable mention*
Date of first TikTok: April 17 2022
While Ed Balls may no longer work in politics after serving as the Shadow Chancellor and MP for Morley and Outwood, it would be wrong not to include the politician who managed to turn an accidental tweet of his name in 2011 into a dedicated day for himself still over 10 years on.
Proving he's still a social media star, Balls created a TikTok account in April this year where he's demonstrated his range - from chucking eggs over the house at Easter to playing the banjo, a behind the scenes look at his appearance on Good Morning Britain, along with a hilarious clip of a seagull nabbing his ice cream.
Now that the PM has recently joined TikTok, MP's popping up on our For You page may become a more common sight...
Additional reporting by PA.
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