Cameron thinks about joining Twitter
Updated on 25 January 2010
David Cameron is coming under pressure from grassroots activists to join Twitter as report shows the social networking site will become a vital campaign tool
The last time Cameron was asked about the social networking service he was forced to apologise for swearing live on radio, revealing to the Christian O'Connell show he was no Twitter fan.
"Politicians do have to think about what they say," Cameron said in July last year. "I think that too many twits might make a twat."
Twitter is seen as a powerful campaign tool and Montgomerie believes it will play an important part in the election.
"Downing Street and Mrs Brown have well over a million followers, the nearest Conservative site has about 60,000 with Boris Johnson," Montgomerie told Cameron.
Concerned the Conservatives are being left behind in the "Twitter-sphere", he urged Cameron to reconsider his position.
"I will obviously avoid the verbal slip ups I made on a previous occasion about Tweets and Twits," joked the Tory leader.
Cameron said he was keen to see his party use all methods of communication, siting Henry Macrory, the Conservative Head of Press, as a popular Twitter user.
"The problem I have is politicians spend so much time talking, making speeches and giving interviews" continued Cameron, "every time you add to this great panoply of communication you have to think very carefully."
Politicians have "to be able to think through everything they say before they say it," said Cameron. "So I'll take away your thought and see whether I can Tweet."
The Conservative leader should take note of a new report by Tweetminster, analysing how politicians are using the service.
Collectively, Labour has more Twitter followers (113,201) than both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats combined, who have 36,874 and 32,202 respectively.
According to Tweetminster, 17 per cent of parliament is on Twitter. More members of parliament are now tweeting than blogging. Fifty-nine per cent of Labour MPs are on Twitter, the Lib Dems have 23 per cent. Just 13 per cent of Tory MPs are on the site.
"Twitter will not decide the election, yet it will play an important role in the election as a whole," says Tweetminster co-founder Alberto Nardelli. "The actual impact it will have is unknown and therefore very interesting."
"It's worth adding the influence of senior party members" said Nardelli, "Nick Clegg and Eric Pickles joined Twitter late, yet are already amongst the most mentioned and retweeted politicians on the site."
"We are quite a way behind the big tweeters," Montgomerie conceded to Rags Martel, "If Cameron started Twittering he could quickly establish himself as a big beast on Tweeter and level the playing field for the right versus the left."
As Cameron left the press conference surrounded by his aides, Montgomerie caught his eye.
"Twitter?" quipped the Conservative party leader to the Tory blogger, referring to the question he had asked him earlier. "They must be paying you!"