Twitter melts – and not in a good way – after Andrew Turner asks about Tigers in most-watched PMQs (Update 2 : Video)

With the Nation’s eyes on him, Andrew Turner had the opportunity of asking the first question after the first much-anticipated Corbyn/Cameron PMQs. He chose to ask about the plight of a Tiger for Isle of Wight Zoo – Twitter exploded with ‘What!?!?’

andrew turner tiger

Today saw the first Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session with the new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. Due to the landslide victory by Mr Corbyn in the leadership battle, today’s PMQs was likely to have been one of the most heavily watched in decades.

After he informing the House he’d received over 40,000 questions from voters and asked the first six, covering serious topics issues including housing and tax credits – ending on mental health.

Island MP asks first question
Once he’d finished his questions, the first next question was asked by Isle of Wight MP, Andrew Turner.

With the deep pockets of deprivation, over 8,000 households on the housing register, poor education and unemployment prospects, can you guess what his question was about?

The problems of importing a tiger to the Isle of Wight Zoo.

As was clearly seen on the live video from Parliament (now below, with a little lead in from PM), as the Isle of Wight MP asked his question other MPs (on both sides of the house) were openly smirking.

(The full transcript is at the bottom of the page).

(Andrew Turner’s office has subsequently issued a press release about this.)

Isle of Wight trending … for the wrong reasons
Social media ‘went wild’ after the question was asked and (lucky for them) Isle of Wight Zoo, is now trending on Twitter and the question has been covered by Sky News and BuzzFeed Politics.

Who said,

Within 15 minutes we saw over 300 tweets commenting on Andrew Turner’s question, a great many of them mocking him for his priorities (we’ve gathered them below for you).

Even brands are getting in on the act, such as Innocent Drinks which tweeted this to its 212,000 followers

Highest priority?
Do you think is the most important question the MP could have asked?

If not, what would you have wanted him to ask about?

Press release from Andrew Turner
Update 6:59pm: Andrew Turner’s office issues a press release this afternoon, containing the following quote from the MP:

“Although there may be more important issues, during PMQs you need to judge whether to achieve something positive or simply get a soundbite. Simi, the tiger has been in inadequate, temporary housing for far too long after being badly abused. I have been trying to help the Isle of Wight Zoo break through the bureaucracy- so far without success. It was interesting to hear that the Prime Minister has intervened in a similar situation in Oxfordshire. I hope that with the support of the Prime Minister, Simi will enjoy as happy a life as Nancy is now.”

Transcript of question

Mr Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight) (Con):

The Isle of Wight zoo is having difficulty importing a tiger. She was cruelly treated in a circus and has now been kept in isolation for nearly two years, despite Belgium being wholly free from rabies. Will my right hon. Friend assist in breaking through this bureaucratic logjam?

The Prime Minister:

I will certainly do anything I can to help my—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker:

Order. I want to hear about the tiger.

The Prime Minister:

I want to hear about the tiger, and we will help those at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Animal and Plant Health Agency, because they are the ones who are working on this. I had a constituency case exactly like this, when the Cotswold Wildlife Park wanted to bring in a rhino. I intervened, and I am delighted to say that the Cotswold Wildlife Park named the rhino Nancy, in honour of my daughter. Nancy has been breeding ever since she arrived in Burford, and I hope that the tiger will be just as effective.

Update: Added Andrew Turner’s press release quote and video

Article edit
2:45pm 8th May 2020 – Removed Storify embed (a shame because it had some great Tweets in it), as the service has closed.

Wednesday, 16th September, 2015 1:22pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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59 Comments on "Twitter melts – and not in a good way – after Andrew Turner asks about Tigers in most-watched PMQs (Update 2 : Video)"

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Perhaps the Turner/Finney community railway can transport the tiger from Ryde to Sandown.


We’re a tourist Island.

The zoo lost some animals last year due to old age so they need to replenish their “stock”.

I think it’s good to see our MP supporting an Island business, regardless of how “trivial” it may appears to others.

A zoo with no animals would close, he’s supporting our economy.


A zoo which no one can afford to visit would close. Not only the tourists being put off by high ferry/ bus prices but locals on lower incomes due to tax credit cuts – that Turner voted for!

Oliver Riverstone
Mr Turner, you are showing contempt towards us, the people who live in the Isle of Wight. This is deeply offensive. Your responses are just patronising and add insult to injury. You seem to care more about animals than you care about people, including the families who will be struggling even more now because you voted for Tax Credit cuts. Children are having their future destroyed and… Read more »
Stewart Blackmore
Imagine my interest when the Speaker called Andrew Turner; he’s bound to ask about Island Line… or Island Schools…or Island ferry services….or Island mental health services….or the disgraceful lack of funding for IW Council…perhaps even the Undercliff but, no, it was the poor tiger at IW Zoo which has been gripping the entire population and needed our MP to highlight its plight! What IS going on in… Read more »

Well, 28,591 people voted for him. They must be feeling so proud now.


Given the lamentable choice of candidates we were presented with, it isn’t surprising.

The island is in dire financial straits. Infrastructure and educational problems, and a Council that is about to collapse. You are the MP for the island, and you actually get called on during the probably most watched Prime Minister’s Questions in a very, very long time, with all eyes on newly elected Labour leader Corbyn,.. So….what question did you submit to be answered in this golden, lottery-win… Read more »

Well done Andrew Turner!

Poor chap is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

Give the man a break for a change.

Niton Wight Satin
Give him a break? He had the attention of a large chunk of the UK and most of its media and how did he use that amazing opportunity? Did he stand up for most of constituents? Did he explain how, although the UK might think that the island is wealthy because it’s in the South east, a lot of people actually struggle here and we’re willing to… Read more »
The Sciolist

Lefties don’t seem to care about animals?


Evidence of that assertion?


And Turner can hardly be seen as the champion of animal welfare as he is pro hunting and pro badger culling!

The Sciolist

Down arrows raining down :)

I assume these questions are written in advance, permission is sought? If so, he got chosen?

Whatever way it works, I would think the tiger is grateful.

Philip Hawkins

It was set up – light relief to deflect any flack from Corbyn’s debut.


I think it was just a device to scupper Corbyn’s debut. Cameron was probably more to ‘blame’ than Turner. In other words don’t shoot the messenger.

Robert Jones

I wonder what a grateful tiger would look like…..?


Some lefties (except for Jeremy) even eat them….”Rah!!”

Niton Wight Satin

How can you possibly twist this to try to make it out that this is about not caring for animals?

The only thing this about is Andrew Turner making an idiot of himself and the whole of the Isle of Wight in front of the whole nation.

retired Hack

People before animals, Sciolist. Unlike those who, like you, want to slam the door on Syrian refugees.


and you ‘righties’ are just so compassionate with your humane Fox control systems (ripping them apart with dogs whilst sitting upon ones horse chuckling with glee) and your love of Wildlife, except Fox and Badger species obviously… and the money you lot inject into animal welfare schemes is legendary etc. etc. etc. and don’t forget treating those less fortunate LIKE animals of course!


I believe that J Corbyn was one of the very few MP’s who has tried to prevent the use of animals in lab research


It is not the Left Wingers that want to bring back hunting or refuse to ban the use of animals in circuses, or refuse to accept the extensive scientific research that proves a badger cull will be ineffective and inhumane. Tell me a Right Winger that truly cares about animals – surprised the Turnip even brought up the Tiger with his blinkered Tory bloodlust views.

Rod Manley
Cameron uses Turner as a stooge.The Tories have done it before in the House of Commons. It was a conscious decision to talk about animals in the context and atmosphere of debate. Don’t forget that not only housing and welfare issues were being discussed but also the mentally ill. Turner knows full well we have these issues on the island. It was a tactic, that is all,… Read more »
I was stunned when he got re-elected, just shows how stupid many Island residents are, he’s the worst MP ever. He won’t campaign for subsidised public transport for the Island which is why are public transport is so expensive. He doesn’t care about the Islands many disabled residents, or appear to understand the housing crisis. We have a huge shortage of one bedroomed properties on the Island… Read more »
retired Hack

Anyway the moral of this story for two-legged islanders is: if you want your problems brought to the Prime Minister’s attention, the best bet by far is to write to Jeremy Corbyn.

retired Hack

ps: apparently Cameron had his local wildlife park in Burford name a rhino Nancy, after his daughter, after helping to get it into the country. I wonder if Mr Turner has a name in mind for the tiger?





What’s it going to take before you get embarrassed by your hero?

With all the issues we have on the Island he mentions getting a tiger to Sandown zoo, when he should be making sure tourists can get to Sandown in the first place..otherwise what’s the point, the zoo will close.

It is true,Turner’s intervention was a deliberate and conscious diversion. The media have found nothing to be able to stick to Jeremy Corbyn and they started pretty early with ridiculous waffle about the national anthem. Also they said he wouldn’t be effective in the House of Commons. He in fact was very effective and the discussion was on his political terms and truly represented the public. Corbyn… Read more »
Geegee White

Mr Turner hope to name a Hippo or Rhino after a loved one. Perks the Tiger after his new and only ‘friend’


And that people, is who you voted for… Well done! Why didn’t he bring up the fixed link, or link across the medina or where the floating bridge is?? Idiot


Sally….Your plus minus voting arrows seem to have gon berserk ! When I add a plus I get a minus. And when I add a minus I get nothing ! Is it just me ?

mike starke

With apologies to the poet William Blake:

Tiger, tiger, burning bright,
Destined for the Isle of Wight,
What on earth was our MP
Doing when he championed thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright,
Marvel at A. Turner’s plight;
Trains and schools, plus roadworks, too,
All ignored… to help a zoo!


Nice One!

The Sciolist

‘Is the Prime Minister aware that my constituents are on average, worse off then those living in (for example) Hampshire?’

Yeah, that would have been a great question. I’m sure he would have solved all our problems with that humdinger. How could David Cameron have failed to send millions of pounds in our direction? Maybe we could even have afforded a new railway to cover the entire island.

Bleedin obvious

‘What practical steps can the Prime Minister take to help the people of my constituency?’


‘Is the Prime Minister aware that my constituents are on average, worse off then those living in Hampshire?’

A very good question, can this be forwarded to AT in case he missed it?

retired Hack
An important function of PMQs, Sciolist, as I daresay you very well know, is to bring constituency problems to the attention of the public, just as much as to the attention of the Prime Minister. On this occasion our MP decided that the most pressing IW constituency problem which needed bringing to anyone’s attention was the immigration status of a tiger. And in fact, if you listen… Read more »

Regarding Mr Turner’s press release: that’s the point – there ARE more important issues than the poor tiger!!! You easily could have had a conversation directly with DEFRA to help the tiger, and not squander an EXCELLENT opportunity at PMQs to bring the Isle of Wight’s plight to light!!!! We need the help, not just the tiger!!

ed mew

I think Mr.Turner has plans to join the raving loonie party !


He already belongs to that party.Cameron invited him in

adrian nicholas
given 2 homes Turner’s public keenness and relish to despatch foxes and badgers – as well as ensuring the iw is by denuding of public transport, an increasing quasi self-quarantine zone for the indigenous populace – one wonders if AT will be concerned at the lack of affordable housing for actual islanders? Presumably at least, the Tiger might have better access to mental health and in old… Read more »
Wow. This is nothing but a man being used by his bullying “comrades” to inject a bit of theatre. Pretty much every question from a conservative had a positive spin, or a joke. Or in this case, an opportunity to laugh at a nice man. It was all clearly set up. Saying “send him to the loony bin” is offensive. Passing him off as some silly old… Read more »

Amy. I too hate all these unpleasant personal remarks about Andrew
Turner. They appear every time his name is mentioned. Whatever your opinions they are unkind and unnecessary.

Carl Feeney
Watched his question at Midday today. My cousin is over from Australia…as soon as Andrew Turner was announced to speak I said to her “watch this guy, he’s gonna say something embarrassing….guaranteed”. So on an occasion when millions were watching the first appearance of Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron having a slug out with an opportunity to state important issues regarding island problems with a large audience…… Read more »
This is how the Guardian covered AT’s Tiger question. Note the word eccentric. Yet no one could say that Dave wasn’t basically all heart. The eccentric Andrew Turner, Tory MP for the Isle of Wight, was desperate to know whether the prime minister shared his pain at the difficulties his local zoo was having in importing a tiger from Belgium. “I had a constituency case exactly like… Read more »

Word noted. As are some words from Private Eye’s most recent Andrew Turner piece:

“totally barmy issues”
“mad question”
“crackpot scheme”
“even the local kids could do a better job than their MP” (at subtracting one from three.)

Although Andrew’s antics are not amusing and alarming readers of today’s Eye, today’s performance and whatever follows soon may well get him back into the next edition.

Yes; as expected, our MP is continuing to amuse/alarm/annoy the nation (on page 13 of Eye 1402). Some new words from today’s piece: “dotty issues” “farcical performance” “stumbled” “meandering” “buffoonish” “residents are furious that he missed an opportunity to ask about something of genuine concern to his constituents” Details follow of his continuing homes and hotel expense claims (somehow without the use of the words greedy and… Read more »
Speaking of “taking such a close interest in housing conditions”, here’s what the latest Private Eye (1402, p.13) says about Andrew’s “buffoonish antics” at PMQs possibly being “a ploy to divert attention from his rather less amusing accommodation arrangements. Last week’s exoneration of Messrs Rifkind and Straw by feeble parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson has reminded Island residents that it was this same Hudson who, despite being… Read more »
Geegee White

In all seriousness, where do we on the IOW go from here ? With the MP incapable of doing the job and with control of the constituency in the hands of ‘others’ can this be allowed to continue ? Answers to you know who at Riverside.

Robert Jones
I have every sympathy for the tiger, and hope that its various issues are soon resolved. It will be – well, it won’t; but it would be, if it knew – grateful that Andrew has raised its plight in the House of Commons, in Prime Minister’s Questions. I expect it’ll be particularly matey if Andrew would like to pop into its enclosure for a photo-opp – arm… Read more »
Louise Foley
The wonderful thing about turners Is turners are wonderful things Their tops are made out of rubber Their bottoms are made out of springs They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun But the most wonderful thing about turners Is I’m the only one The wonderful thing about turners Is turners are wonderful chaps They’re loaded with vim and with vigor They love to leap… Read more »
Many ‘creatures’ live in isolation for years, many are physically emotionally and sometimes sexually abused – most are WOMEN who are forced to hide within the sanctuary of our Refuges. All will have to look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives. How about tackling this at PMQs Mr Turner? Women on this Island living in crowded conditions in fear of their lives surely takes… Read more »

Was there an accomodation here at PMQ ? Mr Turner to ask the ‘Tiger’ question and the Rail Minister to look favourably on his ‘advisors’ view on Island Line and the franchise.
Otherwise why ????????????

Interesting all these press releases and pronouncements from Mr Turner !!!!!! Someone is very busy trying to make us all look the other way !

Certa Cito
You can hear it now from the Speaker of the Commons “And now a question from Coco the Clown the MP for the Isle of Laughter; bear in mind this could be your last question for a few months” there is a pause of anticipation……Ok Mr Turner after the PM has spoken to the US Foreign Minister over the Immigration Crisis in Eastern Europe he will look… Read more »