The Prime Minister is known to be a fan of technology ever since it emerged that he’s addicted to playing Fruit Ninja on his iPad.
But today David Cameron truly cemented his reputation as a man of the modern world by announcing his cabinet reshuffle on Twitter – in 140 characters or less.
In a series of micro messages from behind the door of Number 10 David Cameron told his 2million followers exactly who he’d decided to hire and fire, signing off with the hashtag #reshuffle.
The tweeting appeared to have been triggered by Baroness Warsi who used her official @ToryChairman Twitter account at 2am to steal Mr Cameron’s thunder and confirm she was ‘signing off’, saying it had been ‘a privilege and an honour to serve my party as co-chairman’.
But at 10am the PM proved he too is a social media fan by tweeting more than 14 times about various new appointments from his @number10gov account, including the sensational appointment of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt as Secretary of State for Health.
He replaces Andrew Lansley who has been spectacularly sacked because of his failure to push through NHS reforms and made Leader of the House of Commons instead.
It’s the first time a prime minister has used Twitter to announce a cabinet reshuffle and shows just how significant social media has become – even within the government.
Normally cabinet reshuffle details come via more formal statements released to the media or via announcements in the House of Commons.
This morning, Lady’s Warsi’s online announcement prompted outgoing Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan to also announce her own job loss on Twitter.
Replying to Lady Warsi’s tweet she said: ‘signing off @Welsh_Secretary too but I agree great privilege to serve in cabinet but can serve party from back benches too.’
Later Mr Cameron tweeted that Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke had been appointed Minister without Portfolio – a demotion from his Justice Secretary role which has been given to Chris Grayling – also announced on the micro-blogging site.
Further announcements including the demotion of Justine Greening, who was stripped of her role as Transport Minister and handed the Secretary of State for International Development job, with Patrick McLoughlin stepping into her former role.
Meanwhile Maria Miller was named Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities.
It’s not clear if it is Mr Cameron himself posting the messages – it’s more likely to be one of his aides familiar with the ins and outs of Twitter.
A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘Twitter is only one of the channels that No10 uses to communicate to large audiences, it hasn’t replaced other means.’