'RIP her mentions': Priti Patel flies back into perfect social media storm

Minister’s flight from Kenya to the prospect of the sack in Downing Street was accompanied by flurry of Twitter jokes

Tens of thousands of people spent Wednesday afternoon engrossed in political drama at 40,000ft as Priti Patel flew back from Nairobi, with the expectation she would be sacked by Theresa May upon her arrival.

Flight Radar 24 went public with the number of people tracking her flight – 22,000 – and the social media jokes soon followed.

More than 22,000 users are currently tracking flight #KQ100 en route to London.

According to media #PritiPatel is on board this flight.https://t.co/3GXUkQw0e3 pic.twitter.com/8uzL9usnRc

— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) November 8, 2017

The flight-tracking site soon made its way on to national television.

The BBC are giving me live tracking of Priti Patel's flight. I love it when politics implodes publicly. pic.twitter.com/QgLkLjqA0m

— oscii (@oscii) November 8, 2017

BBC News coverage of Priti Patel's flight from Uganda is approaching "OJ on the run footage" status.

— Kubrick's Lens Cap (@jonrosling) November 8, 2017

Although some took that OJ Simpson reference and brought the metaphor closer to home.

“Priti Patel has just passed Heston Services” pic.twitter.com/JCCHicjD05

— LCC municipal (@lccmunicipal) November 8, 2017

Patel is facing difficulties over a series of revelations about meetings that took place while she was ostensibly on a family holiday in Israel.

There was speculation as to what she might have watched as in-flight entertainment

Wonder what movie Priti Patel is watching on her way back....would welcome suggestions...

— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) November 8, 2017

I Know What You Did Last Summer

— Ben Fenton (@benfenton) November 8, 2017

Snakes on a Plane

— Paul Griffin (@pgriffini) November 8, 2017

Gone Girl.

— Mick Yates (@HappyPotterer) November 8, 2017

The plane’s route allowed for plenty of humour.

Cabinet Minister Priti Patel's flight is currently over Bosnia. Embattled, tense and riven with sectarian strife, the cabinet did not meet this week.

— Andrej (@AndrejNkv) November 8, 2017

Priti about to cross into Belgium, which already has its fair share of exiled rebel leaders pic.twitter.com/QhxE5vJZKj

— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) November 8, 2017

Some were worried about the impact on the pilot.

We go live to the cockpit of Priti Patel's plane as the pilot realises tens of thousands of people are watching the flight live on the BBC and Twitter pic.twitter.com/VjjnW8nK7x

— Gareth Davies (@Gareth_Davies09) November 8, 2017

There were those who showed concern for what Patel’s landing experience would be like.

Can we all take a moment to pray for Priti Patel’s notifications when she switches her phone back on. No one needs that.

— C A N N I N G (@EssexCanning) November 8, 2017

Everybody assumed that Priti Patel was spending the journey not knowing how much attention was being paid to the flight.

No wifi on that flight either apparently, RIP her mentions when she lands

— Lauren McEvatt (@LaurenMaeve) November 8, 2017

Kenya Airways tells me there's no wifi on flight to London so Priti Patel is in the "dark" about what's going on.

— John Aglionby (@johnaglionby) November 8, 2017

This tweet, though, caused people to wonder if maybe she had been online the whole time after all.

Priti Patel finishing off her casework at 40,000ft! pic.twitter.com/ILsq1cZk8W

— Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (@DrRosena) November 8, 2017

The excitement as she got closer to landing was palpable.

Priti Patel is almost back! Everyone in Essex look up and wave. pic.twitter.com/PEhwdluLV9

— James Asser (@JamesAsser) November 8, 2017

"Ladies and gentlemen, if you look out your left window, you'll be able to watch the massive political crisis as it unfolds." #PritiPatel pic.twitter.com/VXW92i9Yny

— Lindsay Bruce (@RogueCoder250) November 8, 2017

People wondered what she would do when she got to the airport.

*Priti Patel walks through "nothing to declare" line*
Theresa May: Are you fucking kidding?

— James Felton (@JimMFelton) November 8, 2017

Priti Patel should be literally duty-free in a few hours

— John Ashmore (@smashmorePH) November 8, 2017

And who might be there to meet her.

I've heard Lee Nelson is waiting at Heathrow for @patel4witham to land #PritiPatel pic.twitter.com/2Uaz746WPP

— George Hemmati (@georgehemmati) November 8, 2017

The stakes were high.

if priti patel doesn't get sacked after we spent the entire day staring at her plane location i'm rioting

— ewizabeth (@praisemajus) November 8, 2017

This man voiced a secret fear in all of us.

Imagine if Priti Patel isn't even on that plane. Thousands of people wasting an afternoon tracking a random flight...

— Thom Rawlinson (@ThomRawlinson) November 8, 2017

Her plane circling around to make its landing approach was a chance for more jokes at her expense.

she's making a run for it! pic.twitter.com/y7XuJ4TCOe

— Chris Cook (@xtophercook) November 8, 2017

Patel isn’t expected to find out her fate until she meets the prime minister face to face later on Wednesday evening. Thanks to TFL, taking the tube might be a way to wring out a last couple of hours of being in the cabinet.

Nice pic.twitter.com/pn4yV6h1Jk

— Matt Leys (@mattleys) November 8, 2017


Martin Belam

The GuardianTramp

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