Remembering the first internet message sent by British PM in 1996

Ian Taylor MBE, Minister for Science, Space and Technology in John Major’s government, sent us a note last month recalling a “first” in the use of the internet by government in the launch the IT for All programme.

“This is the first time a British Prime Minister has sent out a message on the Internet. I am sure it will not be the last. The Internet is a modern marvel … it will soon touch the lives of everyone. It is a doorway to a future world.” (John Major, 1996)

Ian said: “I introduced Bill Gates to John Major and Michael Heseltine. Microsoft were brilliant at helping, I had several talks with Bill Gates personally about ways he could assist UK schools.

“Alongside the Information Society Initiative, which was attempting to educate people on what the implications of the information society might be, we had a concept of IT For All, which, in those days, mainly meant schools.”

Ian was interviewed by Archives of IT in 2019, where he talked about the launch event at which the PM delivered the message. Read more and listen to his his recollections here.