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Grant Shapps


Grant Shapps

The Right Honourable
Grant Shapps
Minister of State for International Development
Assumed office
11 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by (New Position)
Minister without Portfolio
In office
4 September 2012 – 11 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by The Baroness Warsi
Succeeded by The Lord Feldman of Elstree
Chairman of the Conservative Party
In office
4 September 2012 – 11 May 2015
Serving with The Lord Feldman of Elstree
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by The Baroness Warsi
Succeeded by The Lord Feldman of Elstree
Minister of State for Housing and Local Government
In office
13 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by John Healey (Housing)
Rosie Winterton (Local Government)
Succeeded by Mark Prisk
Member of Parliament
for Welwyn Hatfield
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Melanie Johnson
Majority 17,423 (35.6%)
Personal details
Born (1968-09-14) 14 September 1968 [1]
Croxley Green, Watford, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Belinda Goldstone[1]
Children 3
Alma mater Manchester Metropolitan University
Religion Judaism[2]
Pseudonym Michael Green, Sebastian Fox

Grant Shapps (born 14 September 1968)[1] is a British Conservative Party politician, the current Minister of State at the Department for International Development. A former co-chairman of the Conservative Party,[3] he is the member of parliament for Welwyn Hatfield in England. He first won the seat, as Grant V Shapps,[4] in the general election of 5 May 2005. Shapps was returned to parliament in the May 2010 election with a majority of 17,423, which fell to 12,153 in 2015.[5][6] On 9 June 2010, Shapps was appointed as a Privy Counsellor.[7] On 4 September 2012, he was appointed Conservative Party Co-Chairman,[8] replacing Baroness Warsi; he was also appointed Minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office. His salary was paid by the party.[9] On 11 May 2015, Shapps lost his positions as Conservative party co-chairman and minister without portfolio at the Cabinet Office, and was instead appointed minister of state at the Department for International Development.[10]


  • Family and early life 1
  • Political career 2
    • Parliamentary candidacy 2.1
    • Member of Parliament 2.2
    • Shadow housing minister 2.3
    • Minister of State for Housing and Local Government 2.4
    • Conservative Party co-chairman 2.5
    • Minister of State, Department for International Development 2.6
  • Public behavior 3
    • Donations 3.1
    • Pseudonym and second job denials 3.2
    • Allegations of WorldHeritage editing 3.3
  • Professional and writing career 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Family and early life

Shapps was born in BBYO.[12][13] In 1989, Shapps was in a car crash in Kansas, United States, that left him in a coma for a week.[14]

He married Belinda Goldstone in 1997[1] and they have three children.[15] In 1999 Shapps was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy recovering from cancer by the following year.[13][16][17] As a result of the effects of chemotherapy, his children [18] were conceived by IVF.[19]

Shapps' brother, Andre Shapps, is a musician. Between 1994 and 1998, Andre Shapps was a member of Big Audio Dynamite (BAD), playing keyboards. The Shapps' cousin, Mick Jones was a key figure in the British punk rock of the late 1970s and a founding member of both The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite.[20][21][22]

Political career

Parliamentary candidacy

Shapps unsuccessfully contested the seat of North Southwark and Bermondsey during the 1997 election as the Conservative Party candidate.[23]

Shapps stood for the Welwyn Hatfield constituency in the 2001 election, again unsuccessfully.[19] He was reselected to fight Welwyn Hatfield in 2002 and continued his local campaigning over the next four years.

Member of Parliament

Shapps stood again in the 2005 election and was elected as the Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield, defeating the Labour MP and Minister for Public Health, Melanie Johnson. He received 22,172 votes (49.6%) and had a majority of 5,946 (13.3%), recording the second highest swing from Labour to Conservative in the 2005 election of 8.2%.[24]

Shapps publicly backed David Cameron's bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party, seconding Cameron's nomination papers. Upon Cameron's election as party leader Shapps was appointed vice chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for campaigning.[19]

He was a member of the Public Administration Select Committee between May 2005 and February 2007.

In the 2010 election, he was re-elected with a further 11.1% swing and a majority of 17,423, taking 57% of the vote.[25]

Shadow housing minister

In June 2007, Shapps became shadow housing minister,[15] outside the shadow cabinet, but entitled to attend its meetings.

He was shadow housing minister during the period of the last four Labour government housing ministers. During this period of opposition he argued in favour of a community-up approach to solving the housing crisis and warned against top-down Whitehall driven housing targets, which he believed had failed in the past.[19]

In April 2009, Shapps launched the Conservative party's ninth green paper on policy, "Strong Foundations".[26] In early 2010 Shapps published a series of six speeches in a pamphlet called "Home Truths".[27]

Minister of State for Housing and Local Government

In May 2010, Shapps became housing and local government minister within the Communities and Local Government department and immediately repealed Home Information Pack (HIP) legislation.[28] He chaired the Cross-Ministerial Working Group[29] on Homelessness which includes ministers from eight Government departments.[30] The group introduced "No Second Night Out", a policy designed to prevent rough sleeping nationwide.

As Minister of State for Housing, Shapps promoted plans for flexible rent and controversially ended automatic lifetime social tenancies.[31] He also introduced the New Homes Bonus which rewarded councils for building more homes.[32] He denied claims that changes in Housing Benefit rules would be unfair claiming that ordinary people could no longer afford some of the homes paid for by the £24bn Housing Benefit bill.[33] Shapps championed Tenant Panels.[34]

At the 2011 party conference, Shapps backed the expansion of right to buy with the income being spent on replacing the sold housing with new affordable housing on a one for one basis.[35]

In 2012, Shapps launched StreetLink[36] – a website and phone app for the public to bring help to rough sleepers.[37]

Conservative Party co-chairman

Shapps speaking at Conservative Party conference 2011

In September 2012, Shapps was appointed Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party[3] in Cameron's first major reshuffle.

On arrival Shapps set about preparing Conservative Campaign Headquarters for the 2015 election by installing an election countdown clock.[38]

In November 2012, Shapps hired Australian strategist Lynton Crosby to provide strategic advice and run the 2015 election campaign.[39][40] Credited with helping John Howard to win three Australian elections and the re-election of Boris Johnson as Mayor of London, Crosby is a controversial figure who was accused of having influenced government smoking policy in July 2013.[41]

In March 2013, Shapps defended the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (often referred to as the "Bedroom Tax") saying his own children share a bedroom.[42] Some were critical of him for comparing his privileged situation with that of a family receiving housing benefit. Others argued that Shapps was right to point out that families who are not on welfare should not have to pay for additional bedrooms. At the same time Shapps was criticized by Andrew Dilnot, Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, for wrongly claiming that nearly one million people on disability benefits had dropped their claims rather than face medical checks. The real figure was 19,700.[43][44] In September 2013, Shapps complained to the Secretary-General of the United Nations about a press release issued in its name claiming that the government's Spare Room Subsidy policy went against human rights.[45]

In October 2013, Shapps used a [46] The licence fee might be withdrawn if it did not address this. His comments sparked a vigorous response from a former BBC Director General Greg Dyke who said that "politicians shouldn't define partiality".[47] Others, including the current BBC Director General Tony Hall echoed some of Shapps's comments by saying that the "BBC needs to start treating public money as its own."[48]

In March 2014, Shapps drew national headlines for a tweet in support of the 2014 budget. Opponents criticised Shapps of being patronising to working people by reducing their hobbies to bingo and beer.[49]

He ceased being co-chairman of the Conservative Party in May 2015.

Minister of State, Department for International Development

On 11 May 2015, Shapps was sacked from the cabinet,[50] which he had attended as Conservative party co-chairman and minister without portfolio at the Cabinet Office, and appointed as minister of state at the Department for International Development. BBC political correspondent Chris Mason said the change appeared to be a demotion,[10] while The Guardian's chief political correspondent, Nicholas Watt, went further calling it “a humiliating blow”.[51]

Public behavior


In May 2008, Shapps was cited as one of several shadow ministers who had received cash from firms linked to their portfolios. The donors were originally recruited by

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Melanie Johnson
Member of Parliament
for Welwyn Hatfield

Political offices
Preceded by
Desmond Swayne
Minister of State for International Development
Preceded by
The Baroness Warsi
Minister without Portfolio
Succeeded by
The Lord Feldman of Elstree
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Baroness Warsi
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Served alongside: The Lord Feldman of Elstree
Succeeded by
The Lord Feldman of Elstree
  • Grant Shapps MP Official constituency site
  • Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
  • Voting record at Public Whip
  • Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
  • Profile at Westminster Parliamentary Record
  • Articles authored at Journalisted

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e "V weird mystery of Grant Shapps' middle name". The Sun (Sun Nation). 16 March 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2015. Shapps' birth certificate shows he was given just the one name: Grant. 
    Stewart, J. (15 October 1968). "No. 273" (image; certified copy of an Entry Pursuant to the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953). 1968 Births in the Sub-District of Watford in the County of Hertford. Fourteen September 1968, 41 Sycamore Road, Croxley Green; Grant; Boy; ... 
    Davies, J.L. (16 March 2015). "No.160" (image; Certified Copy of an Entry of Marriage given at the General Register Office Application Number 6368696/1). 1997 Marriage solemonized at Holy Law Synagogue [ 
  2. ^ a b Christopher Richards (2 September 2010). "Interview: Grant Shapps". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Cabinet reshuffle: David Cameron's new line-up". BBC News. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Offices – Parliamentary Election Results". 
  5. ^ "'"Shapps: 'Real desire to make Tory/Lib Dem coalition work’. Welwyn Hatfield Times. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Privy Council appointments, 9 June 2010". Privy Council. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Hope, Christopher (4 September 2012). "Grant Shapps made Tory party co-chairman to revive party's grassroots". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "Her Majesty's Government". UK Parliament. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "Cabinet reshuffle: Amber Rudd and Sajid Javid promoted". BBC News. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c "Meet the MP: Grant Shapps". BBC News. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  12. ^ Jessica Elgot (14 May 2010). "New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry". The Jewish Chronicle. 
  13. ^ a b Guru, Geeta (11 September 2012). "Profile: Grant Shapps, Conservative party co-chairman". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "MP talks about recovering from coma". 
  15. ^ a b "Parliamentary Candidate for Welwyn Hatfield Shadow Housing Minister". The Conservative Party. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  16. ^ "Cancer survivor MP Shapps backs research campaign". Welwyn Hatfield Times. 17 February 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  17. ^ "Grant Shapps: Keeping It Real | House Magazine". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d e Porter, Andrew (29 December 2007). "How Grant Shapps slept rough for Christmas". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  20. ^ Newsnight, BBC2, 14 April 2010
  21. ^ Grant Shapps, Conservative, Welywn Hatfield Echo, May 2010
  22. ^ (28 April).The GuardianSimon Hattenstone, 2012, "The Saturday interview: Grant Shapps", (Access: 23 June 2015.)
  23. ^ "Southwark North and Bermondsey-the 2005 general election". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  24. ^ "Election 2005 | Results | Welwyn Hatfield". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Election 2010 | Constituency | Welwyn Hatfield". BBC News. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "Shapps launches new housing policies". The Conservative Party. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  27. ^ "Some home truths on housing | Grant Shapps | Comment is free". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  28. ^ "Hips scrapped by coalition government". BBC News. 20 May 2010. 
  29. ^ "St Mungo's welcomes new announcements by Housing Minister". 
  30. ^ Department for Communities and Local Government. "Minutes of the ministerial working group on preventing and tackling homelessness". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "David Cameron prepared for backlash over council homes". 5 August 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  32. ^ "New Homes Bonus". 12 November 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  33. ^ Amelia Gentleman (28 October 2010). "'"Housing minister rebuts opposition critics: 'We are not being unfair. London: Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  34. ^ Wellman, Alex (31 August 2011), "Tenant panel training scheme launched", Inside Housing 
  35. ^ "'"Shapps Sharpens the Right To Buy. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  36. ^ Twinch, Emily (3 September 2012). "Shapps hands out homelessness cash | News". Inside Housing. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  37. ^ "Help connect rough sleepers to local services". StreetLink. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  38. ^ "Countdown to 2015 General Election". ITV News. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  39. ^ "Tories hire Boris Johnson's strategist Lynton Crosby". 18 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  40. ^ "Grant Shapps on police election votes and Lynton Crosby". 19 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  41. ^ Andrew Grice (17 July 2013). "Smoking gun? David Cameron dodges Lynton Crosby cigarette packaging controversy question". The Independent (London). Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  42. ^ Dominiczak, Peter (31 March 2013). "Grant Shapps defends 'bedroom tax' by saying his children share a room". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  43. ^ "Incapacity benefit test claims 'conflated figures' – watchdog".  
  44. ^ Johnson, Andrew (31 March 2013). "Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps attacked for using his own children in 'bedroom tax' row". The Independent (London). Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  45. ^ "Conservatives protest to UN over 'bedroom tax' report". 11 September 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  46. ^ Ross, Tim (26 October 2013). "BBC could lose right to licence fee over 'culture of waste and secrecy', minister warns". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  47. ^ Rajeev Syal. "BBC licence fee threat: Greg Dyke hits back at Tory chairman". the Guardian. 
  48. ^ Hope, Christopher (4 November 2013). "BBC needs to start treating public money as its own, says Lord Hall". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  49. ^ Urquhart, Conal (19 March 2014). "Scorn for 'patronising' beer and bingo tweet from Tory chair Grant Shapps". The Guardian (London). 
  50. ^ Dominizcak, Peter (11 May 2015). "Grant Shapps sacked from Cabinet by David Cameron".  
  51. ^ Watt, Nicholas (11 May 2015). "Grant Shapps sacked from cabinet in Cameron’s reshuffle".  
  52. ^ David Hencke, Westminster correspondent (16 May 2008). "Shadow ministers take cash from firms linked to their portfolios | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  53. ^ a b Shadow ministers take cash from firms linked to their portfolios The Guardian, 16 May 2008
  54. ^ Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's £500,000 secret donations
  55. ^ "When Shapps Told LBC He Didn't Have Second Job As MP". LBC. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  56. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (15 March 2015). "Grant Shapps admits he had second job as 'millionaire web marketer' while MP". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  57. ^ Randeep Ramesh (16 March 2015). "Revealed: Grant Shapps's threat to sue constituent over Michael Green post". Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  58. ^
  59. ^ """Grant Shapps Was Ambushed With Legal Threat Over His Alter Ego "Michael Green. BuzzFeed. 
  60. ^ Daniel Boffey (21 March 2015). "Grant Shapps faces legal action from constituent he threatened to sue". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  61. ^ Hall, Richard (13 October 2012). "Revealed: Grant Shapps' get-rich-quick guide (or it that Michael Green's?)". Independent. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  62. ^ Daniel Boffey (8 September 2012). "Grant Shapps altered school performance entry on WorldHeritage". The Guardian. 
  63. ^ Randeep Ramesh (11 September 2012). "Grant Shapps's WorldHeritage page was edited to remove byelection gaffe". The Guardian. 
  64. ^ Randeep Ramesh (21 April 2015). "Grant Shapps accused of editing WorldHeritage pages of Tory rivals". The Guardian. 
  65. ^ Walker, Kirsty (9 September 2012). "'"Top Tory 'airbrushed his WorldHeritage page', new chairman 'deleted political gaffes and altered exam details. Daily Mail. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  66. ^ Mason, Rowena (5 October 2012). "'"Grant Shapps: my Michael Green alias was only a 'joke. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  67. ^ "Grant Shapps WorldHeritage edits: the key questions". Channel 4 News. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  68. ^ "Is Grant Shapps being naughty on WorldHeritage – or did a Lib Dem stitch him up?". The Register. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  69. ^ "Election 2015: Grant Shapps denies WorldHeritage claims". BBC News. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  70. ^ WorldHeritage Administrator who accused Grant Shapps of editing pages of Tory rivals is a Liberal Democrat Activist, The Daily Telegraph, April 22, 2015
  71. ^ Randeep Ramesh (9 June 2015). "WorldHeritage: account at centre of row 'not linked' to Grant Shapps". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  72. ^
  73. ^ PrintHouse Corporation. "Design & Print Company London – PrintHouse Corporation". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  74. ^ Hetherington, Peter (20 January 2010). "Tories' housing plans to raise the roofs". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  75. ^ a b Simon Hattenstone (28 April 2012). "The Saturday interview: Grant Shapps". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  76. ^ Watts, Robert; Oliver, Jonathan; Warren, Georgia (21 June 2009). "Conservative MPs rush to quit second jobs". London: Times Online. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  77. ^ Mason, Rowena (5 October 2012). "'"Grant Shapps: my Michael Green alias was only a 'joke. London: Telegraph. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  78. ^ "Companies In The UK". Retrieved 31 March 2015. 


Shapps founded a web publishing business, How To Corp Limited, with his wife while he was recovering from cancer.[77] The company marketed business publications and software. Shapps stood down as a director in July 2008; his wife remained as director until the company was dissolved in 2014.[78]

In 1990, aged 22,[19] Shapps founded PrintHouse Corporation,[73] a design, print, website creation and marketing business in London,[11][74] based on a collapsed printing business he purchased from the receiver.[75] He stepped down as a director in 2009,[76] but remained the majority shareholder.[75]

Professional and writing career

Documents obtained by The Spectator show that an email sent around the board of [72]

In 2012 the Guardian reported that Shapps' WorldHeritage article had been edited from his office to remove embarrassing information and correct an error.[62][63][64] Shapps stated that he had not touched his WorldHeritage biography for years[65] and that he only edited to make his biography more accurate.[66] During the 2015 general election campaign the Guardian reported allegations by a WorldHeritage administrator that Shapps had used a sockpuppet account, Contribsx, to remove embarrassing material from his own WorldHeritage page and make "largely unflattering" edits to articles about other politicians, including some in his own party.[67][68] Shapps denied the allegations;[69] the Telegraph claimed his accuser was a "Liberal Democrat activist".[70] WorldHeritage's Arbitration Committee found there was "no significant evidence" to link the Contribsx account to Shapps. WorldHeritage censured the administrator responsible for the allegation, investigation, comments to the Guardian and the blocking of the Contribsx account. Another administrator removed the block placed on the Contribsx account.[71]

Allegations of WorldHeritage editing

The nature of Green's web marketing business was also criticised in the media. The 20/20 Challenge publication cost $497 and promised customers earnings of $20,000 in 20 days. Upon purchase, the "toolkit" was revealed to be an ebook, advising the user to create their own toolkit and recruit 100 "Joint Venture Partners" to resell it for a share of the profits.[61]

His use of the pen names Michael Green and Sebastian Fox attracted controversy in 2012. Shapps denied having used the pseudonym after entering Parliament and, in 2014, threatened legal action against a constituent who had stated on Facebook that he had. In February 2015 he told LBC Radio presenter Shelagh Fogarty, "Let me get this absolutely clear...I don't have a second job and have never had a second job while being an MP. End of story."[55] In March 2015 Shapps admitted to having had a second job whilst being an MP and practising business under the pen name.[56][57] In his admission he stated that he had 'over-firmly denied' having a second job.[58] In March 2015, Dean Archer, the constituent previously threatened with legal action by Shapps, warned Shapps he was considering legal action against him.[59][60]

Pseudonym and second job denials

[54] The Commissioner exonerated all shadow cabinet members involved.[53]

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