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British PM tells party to tone down tweets

world Updated: Mar 13, 2013 19:38 IST

British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned his Conservative lawmakers not to air their grievances about the party's dismal poll ratings and his leadership on Twitter, reports said on Wednesday.

Cameron and his new party strategist Lynton Crosby, who helped Australia's John Howard win four elections, told Tory MPs they risked damaging their prospects for the 2015 general election.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, Cameron's office said backbenchers were "participants, not commentators" after a string of what it called "distracting" comments on the social media website.

The Conservatives, the senior partners in a coalition government with the centrist Liberal Democrats, slumped to 27 percent in a weekend poll and came a humiliating third in a recent by-election that they had hoped to win.

Combined with the continual economic gloom in Britain, which risks entering a triple-dip recession, lawmakers are becoming increasingly vocal in their criticisms of Cameron's leadership.

However, the prime minister's warning about Twitter appeared to have fallen on deaf ears.

Lawmaker Sarah Wollaston, who has complained that Cameron's inner circle is "too posh, male and white", took to Twitter to reject the demands to keep quiet.

"I cannot 'participate' without the freedom to 'comment', even if that is sometimes inconvenient to the Executive," she tweeted.

She also noted the irony that Crosby's call for discipline appeared to have been leaked to the media beforehand.