New French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is known for his sober, lawyer-like demeanour. However reports in French media that he accidentally sexted a female minister while in a meeting have provoked sniggers in the French National Assembly and speculation that his private life may be more exotic than appearances suggest.

According to La Parisien the accidental recipient of the message assumed that it had been intended for Cazeneuve's wife, Veronique, whom he married in 1995, divorced, then remarried last year.

It is not the first time this year that questions have been raised about Cazeneuve's private proclivities, and his fondness for what has long known as 'le vice anglais' in France.

In May, a tweet by a London "spanking club" was liked by Cazeneuve, when he was serving as interior minister.

Cazeneuve's office claimed that the twitter account was run by a member of Cazeneuve's team, not by the minister himself, and a subsequent report on the incident did not make the identity of the culprit public.

The scandals produced mirth in the usually grave French parliament this week, after Cazeneuve's inaugural speech as prime minister. Christian Jacob, head of the opposition Republicans parliamentary group, broke off his speech after spotting Cazeneuve studying at his phone. "As soon as the prime minister has stopped looking at his text messages, we can continue," Mr Jacob said, to laughter on opposition benches.

Cazeneuve was appointed French prime minister by President Francois Hollande earlier in December, after his predecessor Manuel Valls resigned to run for the presidency.