Chris Huhne's fingerprints on mis-tweet

Chris Huhne's tweet
Image caption The message was deleted shortly after being posted

It could have been straight out of the political comedy series The Thick of It.

The Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has claimed he was trying to send a private message to a member of his own staff when he published a mis-tweet that quickly became notorious.

Next to the Eastleigh MP's smiling face were the words: "From someone else fine but I do not want my fingerprints on the story. C."

The online messaging service Twitter immediately went into overdrive with questions and jokes about the possible story.

The tweet was swiftly deleted, but Mr Huhne is now putting his hand up to the mistake.

He says he thought the mistake was "fairly marginal" and claims he was not embarrassed by it, adding: "To be honest I don't use a lot of Twitter.

"It was supposed to be a private message to a member of staff about a local story."

The Eastleigh News website this week had a story about the spat between Theresa May and Ken Clarke over her conference cat speech.

The website claimed that the story had been recycled from a speech given by the UK Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage.

Classic example

Whilst many of us have been caught out sending private emails to the wrong people, or have even regretted sending a tweet the next morning, it seems Mr Huhne mistook the form of the message he was sending.

The tweet appears to be a reply to a private direct message, but sent out to everyone on Twitter.

Journalists have now been combing the list of Twitter users that Mr Huhne follows, to try to work out the recipient.

After criticism of Michael Gove for using private emails for what was thought to be departmental business, this mis-tweet may now become a classic example to teach how not to use social media.