Thursday 20 November 2014 11:14 am

Has Emily Thornberry finished Labour in Rochester and Strood with one tweet?

Labour MP for Islington Emily Thornberry is taking a fair bit of flack on Twitter after posting a picture from the by-election campaign in Rochester and Strood.

Thornberry tweeted a picture of a house with several England flags and a white van parked in the driveway with the caption "Image from #Rochester".

Update: Thornberry has now resigned from her position on the shadow cabinet

The Labour MP was immediately swamped with tweets asking her what point she was trying to make. But things really kicked off when people took her tweet for a sign of snobbery, with some of the country's leading commentators weighing in.

Whatever the intention of the tweet, it looks set to turn into a PR disaster for Labour, which was already expected to perform poorly in today's by-election, triggered by the defection of Mark Reckless to Ukip.

The Tories were quick to pounce on the gaffe, with secretary of state for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles commenting:

Whatever one's class, colour or creed, the St George's flag is a unifying symbol for our nation. Don't knck it – let's fly the English flag with pride 

Britain's premier political blogger Guido Fawkes has already dubbed the incident #WhiteVanGate. Thornberry's tweet will do little to dissuade Ukip supporters that MPs are not the metropolitan liberal elite they are made out to be.

There appears to be little wriggle room for Thornberry as a fellow Labour MP slammed her tweet as offensive. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Simon Danczuk said:

I think she was being derogatory and dismissive of the people. We all know what she was trying to imply.

I’ve talked about this previously. It’s like the Labour party has been hijacked by the north London liberal elite and it’s comments like that which reinforce that view.