Grant Shapps Wikipedia

The Right Honourable

Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps Official.jpg
Minister without Portfolio
Assumed office

4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byBaroness Warsi
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Assumed office

4 September 2012

Serving with Lord Feldman
LeaderDavid Cameron
Preceded byBaroness Warsi
Minister of State for Housing

and Local Government
In office

13 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byJohn Healey (Housing)

Rosie Winterton (Local Govt)
Succeeded byMark Prisk
Member of Parliament

for Welwyn Hatfield
Assumed office

5 May 2005
Preceded byMelanie Johnson
Majority17,423 (35.6%)
Personal details
Born(1968-09-14) 14 September 1968 (age 45)

Watford, Hertfordshire, England
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Belinda Shapps
Alma materManchester Polytechnic
Grant V. Shapps (born 14 September 1968) is a British Conservative Party politician. He is Conservative Party Chairman 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.

On 9 June 2010, he 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 is paid by the party.


    Family and early life

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

    Shapps married Belinda Goldstone in 1997 and they have three children. In 1999 he 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. Mick Jones, a former member of punk rock band The Clash, is Shapps's cousin.

    Political career

    Parliamentary candidacy

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

    Shapps stood for the Welwyn Hatfield constituency for 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%) recording the second highest swing in the 2005 election of 8.2% from Labour to Conservative, a majority of 5,946 (13.3%).

    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.

    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).

    Shadow housing minister

    In June 2007, Shapps became shadow housing minister, 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.

    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.

    In April 2009, Shapps launched the Conservative party's ninth green paper on policy, "Strong Foundations". And 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.

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

    As Minister of State for Housing, Shapps promoted plans for flexible rent and controversially ended automatic lifetime social tenancies. Shapps 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.

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

    Conservative Party Chairman

    Shapps speaking at Conservative Party conference 2011
    In September 2012, Shapps was appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party 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.

    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 Spare Room Subsidy (often referred to as the 'Bedroom Tax' ) saying his own children share a bedroom. Some were critical for comparing his situation with a family in receipt of housing benefit. Others argued that Shapps was right to point out that families who are not on welfare have to pay for additional bedrooms.

    In Spring 2013 Shapps recruited the head of 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 US Democrats have been traditionally aligned with the British Labour Party.

    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. Shapps condemned as an "absolute disgrace" a UN official's critical comments, pointing out that the official had biased her report by previously being videoed addressing an 'Axe The Bedroom Tax' rally.

    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'. His comments sparked a vigorous response from a former BBC Director General Greg Dyke who claimed 'politicians shouldn't define partiality'. 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.'


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

    Professional and writing career

    In 1990, aged 22, Shapps founded PrintHouse Corporation, a design, print, website creation and marketing business in London. He stepped down as a director in 2009.

    Shapps founded a web publishing business with his wife while he was recovering from cancer in 2000. 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'.

    In September 2012 The Guardian reported Shapps had edited his Wikipedia exam results, though it later transpired the original entry had indeed been wrong. 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."


    • 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.
    • 10 Success Habits to Swell Your Bank Balance 2006. Talking Ebook, with Peter Twist. Under the name 'Michael Green'
    • How to Bounce Back from Recession 2009/10. Under the name 'Michael Green' (after Shapps had stepped down from HowToCorp)


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