|The Right Honourable
Grant Shapps (also known as Michael Green)
|Minister of State for International Development|
11 May 2015 – 28 November 2015
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Nick Hurd (Undersecretary)|
|Minister without Portfolio|
4 September 2012 – 11 May 2015
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||The Baroness Warsi|
|Succeeded by||Robert Halfon|
|Chairman of the Conservative Party|
4 September 2012 – 11 May 2015
Serving with The Lord Feldman of Elstree
|Preceded by||The Baroness Warsi|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Feldman of Elstree|
|Minister of State for Housing and Local Government|
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
5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Melanie Johnson|
14 September 1968 |
Croxley Green, England, UK
|Alma mater||Manchester Metropolitan University|
Grant Shapps (born 14 September 1968) is a British Conservative Party politician, former Minister of State at the Department for International Development. A former co-chairman of the Conservative Party, he is the member of parliament for Welwyn Hatfield in England. He first won the seat as Grant V Shapps 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. On 9 June 2010, Shapps was appointed as a Privy Counsellor.
On 4 September 2012, he was appointed Conservative Party Co-Chairman, replacing Baroness Warsi; he was also appointed Minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office. His salary was paid by the party. 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. On 28 November 2015, he stood down from his ministerial appointment due to allegations of bullying within the Conservative Party.
- 1 Family and early life
- 2 Political career
- 3 Public behaviour
- 4 Professional and writing career
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Family and early life
Shapps was born in Croxley Green, Watford, Hertfordshire, to a Jewish family. He was educated at Yorke Mead Primary School, Watford Grammar School for Boys, and Cassio College. He completed a business and finance course at Manchester Polytechnic, and received a Higher National Diploma. Shapps was also National President of the Jewish youth organisation BBYO. In 1989, according to Shapps, he was in a car crash in Kansas, United States, that left him in a coma for a week.
He married Belinda Goldstone in 1997 and they have three children. In 1999 Shapps was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy recovering from cancer by the following year. As a result of the effects of chemotherapy, his children were conceived by IVF.
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 British punk rock of the late 1970s and a founding member of both the Clash and Big Audio Dynamite.
Shapps stood for the Welwyn Hatfield constituency in the 2001 election, again unsuccessfully. 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%.
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.
He was a member of the Public Administration Select Committee between May 2005 and February 2007.
Shadow housing minister
In June 2007, Shapps became shadow housing minister, 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.
In April 2009, Shapps launched the Conservative party's ninth green paper on policy, "Strong Foundations". In early 2010 Shapps published a series of six speeches in a pamphlet called "Home Truths".
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. He chaired the Cross-Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness which includes ministers from eight Government departments. 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. He also introduced the New Homes Bonus which rewarded councils for building more homes. 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. Shapps championed Tenant Panels.
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.
Conservative Party co-chairman
In November 2012, Shapps hired Australian strategist Lynton Crosby to provide strategic advice and run the 2015 election campaign. 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.
In March 2013, Shapps defended the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (often referred to as the "Bedroom Tax") saying his own children share a bedroom. That September, Shapps complained to the Secretary-General of the United Nations about a press release issued in its name stating that the bedroom policy went against human rights.
In the same year, 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.
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". 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". 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."
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 believing their pastimes were limited to bingo and beer.
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, 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, while The Guardian's chief political correspondent, Nicholas Watt, went further, calling it “a humiliating blow”.
On 28 November 2015, Shapps stood down as minister of state due to allegations of bullying within the Conservative Party. It has been claimed that Shapps, in his previous role as party co-chairman, had ignored repeated allegations of bullying involving Mark Clarke, the then party youth organiser. Baroness Warsi, Shapps’s predecessor as co-chair of the Conservative Party, had written to Shapps to raise concerns about Clarke’s conduct in January 2015. Shapps had appointed Clarke to head his party’s RoadTrip 2015 campaign in January 2015. Clarke denies all allegations. The alleged bullying may have caused a young party member, Elliott Johnson, to commit suicide. The day before Shapps' resignation, Johnson's father had called on Shapps to step down and made the following comments:
|“||Feldman, Shapps and whoever else is involved in this – clearly these senior members of the party have been telling lies ... If they had behaved responsibly ... none of these events would have happened; my son would still be alive and many activists wouldn't have been intimidated and harassed.||”|
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. 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. 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. The Commissioner exonerated all shadow cabinet members involved.
Denials of pseudonym and second job
Shapps's use of the pen names Michael Green and Sebastian Fox attracted controversy in 2012. He denied having used a 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." In March 2015 Shapps admitted to having had a second job whilst being an MP and practising business under a pseudonym. In his admission he stated that he had 'over-firmly denied' having a second job. In March 2015, Dean Archer, the constituent previously threatened with legal action by Shapps, threatened Shapps with legal action.
Allegations of Wikipedia editing
In 2012 the Guardian reported that Shapps' Wikipedia article had been edited from his office to remove embarrassing information and correct an error. Shapps stated that he had not touched his Wikipedia biography for years and that he only edited to make it more accurate. During the 2015 general election campaign the Guardian reported allegations by a Wikipedia administrator that Shapps had used a sockpuppet account, Contribsx, to remove embarrassing material from his own Wikipedia page and make "largely unflattering" edits to articles about other politicians, including some in his own party. Shapps denied the allegations; the Telegraph claimed his accuser was a "Liberal Democrat activist". English Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee found there was "no significant evidence" to link the Contribsx account to Shapps. The elected committee censured the administrator responsible for the allegation; for causing the investigation; for making false allegations to the Guardian; and for blocking the Contribsx account. Another administrator removed the block placed on the account.
An email passed anonymously to "Coffee House" was reported in a blog as showing that a message sent around the board of Wikimedia UK expressed relief that Shapps had not lost his seat, because otherwise the organisation "would be open to the accusation that the charity had acted in a partisan manner during an election period". Shapps claimed that Wikipedia "does not appear to have a processes[sic] in place to quickly, fairly and effectively deal with this type of incident".
Professional and writing career
In 1990, aged 22, Shapps founded PrintHouse Corporation, a design, print, website creation and marketing business in London, based on a collapsed printing business he purchased from the receiver. He stepped down as a director in 2009, but remained the majority shareholder.
Shapps founded a web publishing business, How To Corp Limited, with his wife while he was recovering from cancer. 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.
In 2012 Google blacklisted 19 of the Shapps' business websites for violating rules on copyright infringement related to the web scraping-based TrafficPayMaster software sold by them. The Green's web marketing business's 20/20 Challenge publication also drew criticism. It 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.
- "V weird mystery of Grant Shapps' middle name". The Sun. News Group Newspapers Ltd. 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. (31 August 1997). "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[sic] The Park Royal International Hotel, Stretton Road, Warrington Cheshire; District of Bury in the Borough of Bury. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
Thirty First August 1997; Grant Shapps; Belinda Jo Goldstone ...
- Christopher Richards (2 September 2010). "Interview: Grant Shapps". Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Cabinet reshuffle: David Cameron's new line-up". BBC News. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council Offices – Parliamentary Election Results". welhat.gov.uk.
- "Shapps: 'Real desire to make Tory/Lib Dem coalition work". Welwyn Hatfield Times. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
- "Privy Council appointments, 9 June 2010". Privy Council. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
- 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.
- "Her Majesty's Government". UK Parliament. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "Cabinet reshuffle: Amber Rudd and Sajid Javid promoted". BBC News. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- "Shapps quits amid Tory bullying claims". BBC News. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- "Meet the MP: Grant Shapps". BBC News. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- Jessica Elgot (14 May 2010). "New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry". The Jewish Chronicle.
- Guru, Geeta (11 September 2012). "Profile: Grant Shapps, Conservative party co-chairman". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "MP talks about recovering from coma".
- "Parliamentary Candidate for Welwyn Hatfield Shadow Housing Minister". The Conservative Party. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Cancer survivor MP Shapps backs research campaign". Welwyn Hatfield Times. 17 February 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Grant Shapps: Keeping It Real | House Magazine". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Porter, Andrew (29 December 2007). "How Grant Shapps slept rough for Christmas". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- Newsnight, BBC2, 14 April 2010
- Grant Shapps, Conservative, Welywn Hatfield Echo, May 2010
- Simon Hattenstone, 2012, "The Saturday interview: Grant Shapps", The Guardian (28 April). (Access: 23 June 2015.)
- "Southwark North and Bermondsey-the 2005 general election". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Election 2005 | Results | Welwyn Hatfield". BBC News. 6 May 2005. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Election 2010 | Constituency | Welwyn Hatfield". BBC News. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Shapps launches new housing policies". The Conservative Party. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- "Some home truths on housing | Grant Shapps | Comment is free". theguardian.com. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Hips scrapped by coalition government". BBC News. 20 May 2010.
- "St Mungo's welcomes new announcements by Housing Minister". mungos.org.
- Department for Communities and Local Government. "Minutes of the ministerial working group on preventing and tackling homelessness". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "David Cameron prepared for backlash over council homes". Thisislondon.co.uk. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "New Homes Bonus". Bbc.co.uk. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Amelia Gentleman (28 October 2010). "Housing minister rebuts opposition critics: 'We are not being unfair'". London: Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Wellman, Alex (31 August 2011), "Tenant panel training scheme launched", Inside Housing
- "Shapps Sharpens the Right To Buy'". Spectator.co.uk. 2 October 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Twinch, Emily (3 September 2012). "Shapps hands out homelessness cash | News". Inside Housing. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Help connect rough sleepers to local services". StreetLink. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Countdown to 2015 General Election". ITV News. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Tories hire Boris Johnson's strategist Lynton Crosby". Bbc.co.uk. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Grant Shapps on police election votes and Lynton Crosby". Bbc.co.uk. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Andrew Grice (17 July 2013). "Smoking gun? David Cameron dodges Lynton Crosby cigarette packaging controversy question". The Independent. London. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- 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.
- "Conservatives protest to UN over 'bedroom tax' report". Bbc.co.uk. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Incapacity benefit test claims 'conflated figures' – watchdog". BBC. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- 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.
- Ross, Tim (26 October 2013). "BBC could lose right to licence fee over 'culture of waste and secrecy', minister warns". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Rajeev Syal. "BBC licence fee threat: Greg Dyke hits back at Tory chairman". the Guardian.
- Hope, Christopher (4 November 2013). "BBC needs to start treating public money as its own, says Lord Hall". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Urquhart, Conal (19 March 2014). "Scorn for 'patronising' beer and bingo tweet from Tory chair Grant Shapps". The Guardian. London.
- Dominizcak, Peter (11 May 2015). "Grant Shapps sacked from Cabinet by David Cameron". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- Watt, Nicholas (11 May 2015). "Grant Shapps sacked from cabinet in Cameron's reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- "Inside the investigation that forced Grant Shapps to resign". The Guardian. 28 November 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- Grierson, Jamie; Hattenstone, Simon (27 November 2015). "Tory chairmen should quit over bullying scandal - activist's father". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
- David Hencke, Westminster correspondent (16 May 2008). "Shadow ministers take cash from firms linked to their portfolios | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Shadow ministers take cash from firms linked to their portfolios The Guardian, 16 May 2008
- Shadow Chancellor George Osborne's £500,000 secret donations Archived 6 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- "When Shapps Told LBC He Didn't Have Second Job As MP". LBC. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Ramesh, Randeep (15 March 2015). "Grant Shapps admits he had second job as 'millionaire web marketer' while MP". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Randeep Ramesh (16 March 2015). "Revealed: Grant Shapps's threat to sue constituent over Michael Green post". TheGuardian.co.uk. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "Grant Shapps admits interview error over 'second job dates'". BBC News.
- "Grant Shapps Was Ambushed With Legal Threat Over His Alter Ego "Michael Green"". BuzzFeed.
- Daniel Boffey (21 March 2015). "Grant Shapps faces legal action from constituent he threatened to sue". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- Daniel Boffey (8 September 2012). "Grant Shapps altered school performance entry on Wikipedia". The Guardian.
- Randeep Ramesh (11 September 2012). "Grant Shapps's Wikipedia page was edited to remove byelection gaffe". The Guardian.
- Randeep Ramesh (21 April 2015). "Grant Shapps accused of editing Wikipedia pages of Tory rivals". The Guardian.
- Walker, Kirsty (9 September 2012). "Top Tory 'airbrushed his Wikipedia page', new chairman 'deleted political gaffes and altered exam details'". Daily Mail. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- Mason, Rowena (5 October 2012). "Grant Shapps: my Michael Green alias was only a 'joke'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- "Grant Shapps Wikipedia edits: the key questions". Channel 4 News. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
- "Is Grant Shapps being naughty on Wikipedia – or did a Lib Dem stitch him up?". The Register. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- "Election 2015: Grant Shapps denies Wikipedia claims". BBC News. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Wikipedia Administrator who accused Grant Shapps of editing pages of Tory rivals is a Liberal Democrat Activist, The Daily Telegraph, April 22, 2015
- Randeep Ramesh (9 June 2015). "Wikipedia: account at centre of row 'not linked' to Grant Shapps". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- "Revealed: Wikipedia's panic over Shapps fiasco - Spectator Blogs". Spectator Blogs.
- PrintHouse Corporation. "Design & Print Company London – PrintHouse Corporation". Printhouse.co.uk. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Hetherington, Peter (20 January 2010). "Tories' housing plans to raise the roofs". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- Simon Hattenstone (28 April 2012). "The Saturday interview: Grant Shapps". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
- Watts, Robert; Oliver, Jonathan; Warren, Georgia (21 June 2009). "Conservative MPs rush to quit second jobs". London: Times Online. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- Mason, Rowena (5 October 2012). "Grant Shapps: my Michael Green alias was only a 'joke'". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Companies In The UK". Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- Rosa Prince (3 September 2012). "Grant Shappses' business 'plagiarising' software and breaching Google's rules". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- Rupert Neate. "Google blacklists websites run by family of Grant Shapps". the Guardian.
- Hall, Richard (13 October 2012). "Revealed: Grant Shapps' get-rich-quick guide (or it that Michael Green's?)". Independent. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
- 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
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament
for Welwyn Hatfield
|Party political offices|
The Baroness Warsi
|Chair of the Conservative Party
Served alongside: The Lord Feldman of Elstree
The Lord Feldman of Elstree
The Baroness Warsi
|Minister without Portfolio
|Minister of State for International Development
as Undersecretary of State for International Development