Grant Shapps

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The Right Honourable
Grant Shapps
MP
Grant Shapps Official.jpg
Minister without Portfolio
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Baroness Warsi
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
4 September 2012
Serving with Lord Feldman
Leader David Cameron
Preceded by Baroness Warsi
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 Govt)
Succeeded by Mark Prisk
Member of Parliament
for Welwyn Hatfield
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Melanie Johnson
Majority 17,423 (35.6%)
Personal details
Born (1968-09-14) 14 September 1968 (age 45)
Watford, Hertfordshire, England
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Belinda Shapps
Children 3
Alma mater Manchester Polytechnic
Religion Judaism

Grant V. Shapps[1] (born 14 September 1968) is a British Conservative Party politician. He is Conservative Party Chairman[2] and Member of Parliament (MP) for Welwyn Hatfield in the United Kingdom. He first won the seat in the general election on 5 May 2005 and was returned to parliament in the May 2010 election with a 17,423 majority.[3]

On 9 June 2010, he was appointed as a Privy Counsellor.[4] On 4 September 2012, he was appointed Conservative Party Chairman,[5] replacing Baroness Warsi; he was also appointed Minister without Portfolio, in the Cabinet Office. His salary is paid by the party.[6]

Family and early life[edit]

Shapps was born in Watford, Hertfordshire to a British Jewish family.[7] He was educated at Yorke Mead Primary School, Watford Grammar School for Boys, followed by Cassio College.[8] He completed a business and finance course at Manchester Polytechnic, and received a Higher National Diploma.[8] Shapps was also National President of B'nai B'rith.[7][9] In 1989, Shapps was in a car crash in Kansas, United States, leaving him in a coma for a week.[10]

Shapps married Belinda Goldstone in 1997 and they have three children.[11] In 1999 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy recovering from cancer by the following year.[9][12][13] As a result of the effects of chemotherapy his children[14] were conceived by IVF.[15] Mick Jones, a former member of punk rock band The Clash, is Shapps's cousin.[16][17]

Political career[edit]

Parliamentary candidacy[edit]

Shapps stood unsuccessfully for parliament during the 1997 election as the Conservative candidate for North Southwark and Bermondsey.[18]

Shapps stood for the Welwyn Hatfield constituency for the 2001 election, again unsuccessfully.[15] He was reselected to fight Welwyn Hatfield in 2002 and continued his local campaigning over the next four years.

Member of Parliament[edit]

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%) recording the second highest swing in the 2005 election of 8.2% from Labour to Conservative, a majority of 5,946 (13.3%).[19]

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.[15]

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

Shapps was re-elected in the 2010 election with a further 11.1% swing and a majority of 17,423 (57% of the vote).[20]

Shadow housing minister[edit]

In June 2007, Shapps became shadow housing minister,[11] outside the shadow cabinet, but entitled to attend its meetings.

Shapps 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.[15]

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 Michael Gove who previously held the shadow housing portfolio.[21] The Conservative party said shadow ministers had not been influenced by donations. "Some Conservative policy on housing is actually against the policy of the donors", said a Conservative spokesman.[22] Shadow ministers are allowed to receive donations from organisations covered by their brief as long as the person has a company in the UK or lives in the UK.[22] The Commissioner exonerated all shadow cabinet members involved.[23]

In April 2009, Shapps launched the Conservative party's ninth green paper on policy, "Strong Foundations".[24] And in early 2010 Shapps published a series of six speeches in a pamphlet called "Home Truths".[25]

Minister of State for Housing and Local Government[edit]

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.[26] He chaired the Cross-Ministerial Working Group[27] on Homelessness which includes Ministers from eight Government departments.[28] The group introduced "No Second Night Out", a policy designed to prevent rough sleeping nationwide.

Shapps was tipped as a possible future leader by Daily Mail writer Quentin Letts.[29]

As Minister of State for Housing, Shapps promoted plans for flexible rent and controversially ended automatic lifetime social tenancies.[30] Shapps also introduced the New Homes Bonus which rewarded councils for building more homes.[31] 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.[32] Shapps championed Tenant Panels.[33]

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.[34]

In 2012 Shapps launched StreetLink[35] - a website and phone app for the public to bring help to rough sleepers.[36]

Conservative Party Chairman[edit]

Shapps speaking at Conservative Party conference 2011

In September 2012, Shapps was appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party[2] 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 to instil a sense of urgency.[37][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 Spare Room Subsidy (often referred to as the 'Bedroom Tax'[42] ) saying his own children share a bedroom.[43] Some were critical of him for comparing his privileged situation with that of a family receiving of housing benefit. Others argued that Shapps was right to point out that families who are not on welfare should 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.[44][45]

In Spring 2013 Shapps recruited the head of Barack Obama's US presidential 2012 campaign Jim Messina to advise on campaigning and digital strategy. Commentators described the hire as a "major political coup" because the US Democrats have been traditionally aligned with the British Labour Party.[46]

In September 2013 Shapps complained to the Secretary-General of the United Nations about a press release issued in its name claiming that the Spare Room Subsidy went against Human rights.[47] Shapps condemned as an "absolute disgrace" a UN official's critical comments, saying that the official had biased her report by previously being videoed addressing an 'Axe The Bedroom Tax' rally.[48]

In October 2013 Shapps used a Daily Telegraph interview to say that the BBC could lose the right to all of the licence fee if it did not resolve its 'culture of waste and secrecy'. He also suggested that the organisation was biased against the Tory Party, saying it did not "apply fairness in both directions" and that there was a "question of credibility for the organisation".[49] 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'.[50] Others, including the current BBC Director General Tony Hall echoed some of Shapps' comments by saying that the 'BBC needs to start treating public money as its own.'[51]

In March 2014 Shapps drew national headlines for a tweet in support of the 2014 budget. Labour argued it charactertured people who play bingo or drink beer.[52] It was later revealed that the ad had been generated in the Treasury and signed off by George Osborne and Lynton Crosby.[53]

Expenses[edit]

In the MPs expenses scandal of 2009 Shapps was categorised by The Daily Telegraph as an "expenses saint".[54]

Professional and writing career[edit]

In 1990, aged 22,[15] Shapps founded PrintHouse Corporation,[55] a design, print, website creation and marketing business in London.[8][56] He stepped down as a director in 2009.[57]

Shapps founded a web publishing business with his wife while he was recovering from cancer in 2000.[58] The company marketed business publications and software. His use of the pen name Michael Green prior to entering Parliament attracted considerable interest. Shapps said that he was open about writing with a pen name and included the fact in his own biography, adding that he was proud to have 'built up a business from scratch'.[59]

In September 2012 The Guardian reported Shapps had edited his Wikipedia exam results, though it later transpired the original entry had indeed been wrong.[60] Shapps said they were inaccuracies telling the Daily Mail that he had not edited his Wikipedia article in years: "these days when I see stuff that's blatantly wrong on my Wiki page, I just shrug my shoulders. If people want to claim I'm a Jehovah's Witness, agnostic or crashed a car into a school wall —all real edits I'd previously changed— then I just leave them to it."[61]

Bibliography[edit]

  • How to Write a Newsletter 2000. Under the name 'Michael Green'
  • Create and Sell Products online 2001. Under the name 'Michael Green'
  • How to write a Corporate Email Policy 2002.
  • How to write a Corporate Internet Policy 2002.

Styles[edit]

  • Grant Shapps Esq (1968–2005)
  • Grant Shapps Esq MP (2005–2010)
  • The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (2010–)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shapps's full name as given when he was nominated as a Parliamentary candidate for Welwyn Hatfield in the 2001 general election. See "Election 2001: The Official Results", Electoral Commission/Politico's Publishing, 2001, pp. 209, 370.
  2. ^ a b "BBC News - Cabinet reshuffle: David Cameron's new line-up". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-10-07. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  3. ^ "Shapps: ‘Real desire to make Tory/Lib Dem coalition work’". Welwyn Hatfield Times. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Privy Council appointments, 9 June 2010". Privy Council. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Hope, Christopher (4 September 2012). "Grant Shapps made Tory party co-chairman to revive party's grassroots". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Her Majesty's Government". Parliament.uk. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Jessica Elgot (14 May 2010). "New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry". The Jewish Chronicle. 
  8. ^ a b c "Meet the MP: Grant Shapps". BBC News. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Guru, Geeta (2012-09-11). "BBC News - Profile: Grant Shapps, Conservative party co-chairman". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  10. ^ "MP talks about recovering from coma". 
  11. ^ a b "Parliamentary Candidate for Welwyn Hatfield Shadow Housing Minister". The Conservative Party. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "Cancer survivor MP Shapps backs research campaign - News - Welwyn Hatfield Times". Whtimes.co.uk. 2013-02-17. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  13. ^ "Grant Shapps: Keeping It Real | House Magazine". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  14. ^ "The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Porter, Andrew (29 December 2007). "How Grant Shapps slept rough for Christmas". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  16. ^ Newsnight, BBC2, 14 April 2010
  17. ^ Grant Shapps, Conservative, Welywn Hatfield Echo, May 2010
  18. ^ "Southwark North and Bermondsey-the 2005 general election". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2010. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Election 2005 | Results | Welwyn Hatfield". BBC News. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  20. ^ "Election 2010 | Constituency | Welwyn Hatfield". BBC News. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  21. ^ David Hencke, Westminster correspondent (2008-05-16). "Shadow ministers take cash from firms linked to their portfolios | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  22. ^ a b Shadow ministers take cash from firms linked to their portfolios The Guardian, 16 May 2008
  23. ^ Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's £500,000 secret donations[dead link]
  24. ^ "Shapps launches new housing policies". The Conservative Party. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  25. ^ "Some home truths on housing | Grant Shapps | Comment is free". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  26. ^ "Hips scrapped by coalition government". BBC News. 20 May 2010. 
  27. ^ "Homelessness". 
  28. ^ Department for Communities and Local Government. "Minutes of the ministerial working group on preventing and tackling homelessness - Publications". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  29. ^ Letts, Quentin (23 October 2010). "He stood up to the old class warrior, almost snarling". Daily Mail (London: Associated Newspapers Ltd.). Retrieved 22 January 2011. 
  30. ^ "David Cameron prepared for backlash over council homes". Thisislondon.co.uk. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  31. ^ "New Homes Bonus". Bbc.co.uk. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  32. ^ Amelia Gentleman (28 October 2010). "Housing minister rebuts opposition critics: 'We are not being unfair'". London: Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  33. ^ Wellman, Alex (31 August 2011), "Tenant panel training scheme launched", Inside Housing 
  34. ^ "Shapps Sharpens the Right To Buy'". Spectator.co.uk. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  35. ^ Twinch, Emily (2012-09-03). "Shapps hands out homelessness cash | News". Inside Housing. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  36. ^ "Help connect rough sleepers to local services". StreetLink. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  37. ^ "Countdown to 2015 General Election - ITV News". Itv.com. 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  38. ^ "Re-arranging the desk chairs on the Titanic » Spectator Blogs". Blogs.spectator.co.uk. 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  39. ^ "BBC News - Tories hire Boris Johnson's strategist Lynton Crosby". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-11-18. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  40. ^ "BBC News - Grant Shapps on police election votes and Lynton Crosby". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-11-19. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  41. ^ Andrew Grice (2013-07-17). "Smoking gun? David Cameron dodges Lynton Crosby cigarette packaging controversy question - UK Politics - UK". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  42. ^ Chapman, James (15 March 2013). "Iain Duncan Smith's fury at the BBC for adopting the language of Labour and calling benefit cut 'bedroom tax'". The Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  43. ^ Dominiczak, Peter (March 31, 2013). "Grant Shapps defends 'bedroom tax' by saying his children share a room". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  44. ^ "Incapacity benefit test claims 'conflated figures' - watchdog". BBC. May 30, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  45. ^ 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. 
  46. ^ Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor (2013-08-02). "Tories hire Obama's re-election guru Jim Messina to help keep Cameron in No. 10 after 2015 | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  47. ^ "BBC News - Conservatives protest to UN over 'bedroom tax' report". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  48. ^ Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor (2013-09-11). "Tory fury at UN official Raquel Rosnik who launched 'political' attack on 'bedroom tax' reforms | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  49. ^ Ross, Tim (26 October 2013). "BBC could lose right to licence fee over 'culture of waste and secrecy', minister warns". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  50. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/oct/27/bbc-licence-fee-threat-greg-dyke-hits-back-tory
  51. ^ Hope, Christopher (4 November 2013). "BBC needs to start treating public money as its own, says Lord Hall". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  52. ^ "Scorn for 'patronising' beer and bingo tweet from Tory chair Grant Shapps" The Guardian, 19 March 2014
  53. ^ Martin, Iain (22 March 2014). "Eyes down . . . how Osborne dodged blame for bingo gaffe". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  54. ^ "MPs' expenses: The saints (Part ii)-Grant Shapps". London: The Telegraph. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  55. ^ PrintHouse Corporation. "Design & Print Company London - PrintHouse Corporation". Printhouse.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  56. ^ Hetherington, Peter (20 January 2010). "Tories' housing plans to raise the roofs". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  57. ^ Watts, Robert; Oliver, Jonathan; Warren, Georgia (21 June 2009). "Conservative MPs rush to quit second jobs". London: Times Online. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  58. ^ Mason, Rowena (5 October 2012). "Grant Shapps: my Michael Green alias was only a 'joke'". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  59. ^ Joe Murphy, Political Editor (2012-10-05). "Grant Shapps: I've built my own business - something Miliband has never done - Politics - News - London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  60. ^ "Putting MP Grant Shapps’ exam record straight - News - Welwyn Hatfield Times". Whtimes.co.uk. 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  61. ^ Walker, Kirsty (9 September 2012). "Top Tory 'airbrushed his Wikipedia page', new chairman 'deleted political gaffes and altered exam details'". London: dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Melanie Johnson
Member of Parliament for Welwyn Hatfield
2005–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
The Baroness Warsi
Minister without Portfolio
2012–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Baroness Warsi
The Lord Feldman of Elstree
Chairman of the Conservative Party
2012–present
with The Lord Feldman of Elstree
Incumbent