Following today’s revelation that Grant Shapps has an alter-ego who sells questionable software and self help guides, Labour MP Steve McCabe has written to the DCLG Permenant Secretary to ask a few questions about Shapps behaviour. You can read the full letter below:
Dear Sir Bob,
I am writing to raise questions about the conduct of Communities and Local Government Minister Grant Shapps, in the light of important revelations in today’s Guardian.
Mr Shapps’ spokesman reportedly told the Guardian that Grant Shapps “is quite simply not involved in this business”. Mr Shapps does not declare any involvement with How To Corp in his entry in the Register of Members’ Interests, although he has done so in the past, and nor does he declare any such involvement in his entry in the List of Ministers’ Interests.
However, according to the report in the Guardian, Grant Shapps has admitted to using the alias “Michael Green”. The Guardian also reports that HowToCorp’s Sebastian Fox “also signs off as Michael Green”. Evidence suggests that Grant Shapps, through these aliases, has remained involved in the company.
- “Michael Green” appears to be the author or named promoter of a number of products which are still available on the HowToCorp website. Text on the website promoting “The Meaning Of Your Dreams” purports to come “From the desk of Michael Green” on today’s date, September 3, 2012.
From the desk of Michael Green
September 3, 2012
Everybody dreams, and every dream means something, no matter how fragmentary and ridiculous it may appear.
It may be symbolic of something deep-seated in the personality of YOU the dreamer, or may indicate something trivial, but in every case, the dream has a meaning, which can only be discovered through an analysis of the dream itself.
Sometimes the successful analysis of your dreams can lead to answers regarding deep seated questions about your life. While on other occasions your dreams may appear nutty, fragmented, or even completely mad!
But how can YOU find out what your dreams actually mean?
“The Meaning Of Your Dreams”, http://www.meaning-of-dreams.com/
- “Michael Green”’s book “How To Bounce Back From Recession” is copyrighted to HowToCorp 09/10 – a period when Grant Shapps claims to have had no involvement with the company: http://www.howtobouncebackfromrecession.com/michaelgreen/BounceBackFromRecession.pdf
- “Michael Green” claims to spend one day a week, usually Fridays, working on online marketing, in a page which purports to be “a personal note from founder Michael Green this Monday”:
So what’s the secret to my success? Well first of all, it’s certainly NOT the hours I put into selling my products online. As a matter of fact, I only do online marketing a day a week (that’s usually a Friday)!
- An online profile of “Michael Green” written as recently as December 2010, when Grant Shapps was Housing Minister, describes him as “a member of the UK Parliament” and includes a photo which does not appear to be of Grant Shapps: http://www.thedailyincome.com/michael-green
- HowToCorp operates “Sebastian Fox’s How To Forum” at http://www.howtocorphelp.com/htforum/index.php on which “SebFox” has posted as recently as July 2012 at http://www.howtocorphelp.com/htforum/index.php?topic=13185.0 – suggesting an ongoing involvement in the business by at least one of Mr Shapps’ many aliases.
Mr Shapps’ conduct raises a number of questions:
- The Ministerial Code at requires, at 7.3, that new Ministers must provide the Permanent Secretary with a full list in writing of all interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict, also covering relevant interests of a spouse or partner. Did Mr Shapps do this?
- Has Mr Shapps accessed howtocorp.com, howtocorphelp.com or any affiliated websites from departmental computers?
- The Ministerial Code requires, through the Seven Principles of Public Life, that Ministers act with Integrity and Openness. Are you satisfied that the use of aliases to promote a private business is in keeping with these principles? Are you satisfied that Mr Shapps’ spokesman’s claim, contradicted by the evidence, that he “is quite simply not involved in this business” is in keeping with these principles?
In view of the public interest in these matters, I am releasing this letter to the media.
Steve McCabe MP