Yorkshire Tea "shocked" by backlash after Chancellor makes a cuppa with its teabags

David Prior's picture

Yorkshire Tea has called on social media users to "try to be kind" after unwittingly finding itself at the heart of a Twitter storm.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted a picture on Friday showing him "making tea for the team", next to a large bag of Yorkshire Tea bags. "Nothing like a good Yorkshire brew," the MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire added.

But his tweet was seized upon by anti-Tory activists and others, who called for the boycott of the Harrogate-based brand - despite the company quickly clarifying that it had had no part in Sunak's tweet.

One said, "Looks like buying Tetley is back on. Shame on you @Yorkshiretea."

Yesterday, the company - through its Twitter page - said the reaction to the tweet had been "pretty shocking".

Embedded rich media on Twitter

"We've spent the last three days answering furious accusations and boycott calls. For some, our tea just being drunk by someone they don't like means it's forever tainted, and they've made sure we know it.

"It's been pretty shocking to see the determination some have had to drag us into a political mudfight. But it's been lovely to see others speak up for us - we're so grateful to everyone who's done that in a civil way (and gutted to see some use it as a reason for more nastiness).

"Speaking directly now, as the person who's been answering these tweets, I know it could have been much worse. It's easier to be on the receiving end of this as a brand than as an individual. There's more emotional distance and I've had a team to support me when it got a bit much.

"But for anyone about to vent their rage online, even to a company - please remember there's a human on the other end of it, and try to be kind."

Owned by Taylors of Harrogate, Yorkshire Tea has grown from a regional brand to become one of Britain's most successful exports.