Grant Shapps: From Controversy to Cabinet – The Journey of the UK’s New Defence Secretary

Grant Shapps: From Controversy to Cabinet – The Journey of the UK’s New Defence Secretary

In a mini-reshuffle led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the United Kingdom has witnessed a significant change in the role of Defence Secretary.

Grant Shapps, the Member of Parliament for Welwyn Hatfield since 2006, has taken over the responsibilities, succeeding Ben Wallace, who announced his departure from the post during a cabinet reshuffle.

The Journey to Defence Secretary: Shapps’ Diverse Career

Grant Shapps had been serving as the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero before his promotion to Defence Secretary.

Remarkably, this new cabinet position marks his fifth within less than a year, a testament to his rapid political ascent.

He initially served as Home Secretary for a mere six days under Liz Truss before transitioning to Business Secretary and subsequently Energy Secretary under Rishi Sunak.

While Shapps’ appointment comes during a relatively stable period for the Conservative Party, his political career has been characterized by a series of unusual and occasionally controversial events.

Notably, he was linked to aliases such as Michael Green, Sebastian Fox, and Corinne Stockheath while running a web publishing business that sold “get rich quick” self-help guides (although he denied using Fox and Stockheath but admitted to using Green).

Shapps faced allegations of editing his own Wikipedia page to remove references to his O-level results and accepting undisclosed cryptocurrency payments from a blockchain company.

During the previous Tory leadership campaign, he earned the moniker “spreadsheet schemer” for purportedly recording colleagues’ doubts about former Prime Minister Liz Truss on a high-end foldable smartphone.

Intriguingly, he briefly entered the race to replace Boris Johnson but withdrew three days later to support Sunak.

From Coma to the Clash: Shapps’ Personal Journey

Grant Shapps’ early life and career are distinct from those of many of his Conservative peers.

Born in Hertfordshire in 1968 to a Jewish family, he attended Watford Grammar School for Boys, where he allegedly obtained five O-levels.

He later pursued a business and finance course at Manchester Polytechnic.

Despite his self-made success, Shapps has noteworthy family connections, including his brother Andre, who played keyboards for the post-punk band Big Audio Dynamite alongside their cousin, Clash guitarist Mick Jones.

Shapps faced significant personal challenges, including a near-fatal car crash in the US in 1989 that left him in a week-long coma.

Upon his return to the UK, he founded PrintHouse Corporation, a printing company that remains in operation.

Tragedy struck again in 1999 when Shapps was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 31, a cancer affecting the lymphatic system.

However, he successfully overcame the disease after undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The Wikipedia Controversy: A Bizarre Edit Scandal

In September 2012, Shapps was involved in a peculiar scandal.

It was reported that he had edited his Wikipedia page, removing information, including the names of donors to his private office.

One of the most unusual edits was the removal of his studies at Watford Grammar School for Boys, where the page claimed he had “obtained four O-levels, including an A in CDT.”

Shapps, without revealing his identity, justified the edits by citing the removal of politically biased or unreferenced information and insisted that “content must be verifiable.”

The Enigmatic ‘Michael Green’ Era

Arguably, one of the most absurd episodes in Shapps’ career unfolded in 2012 when it was revealed that he had operated under the pseudonym Michael Green.

He established a web sales business called HowToCorp, which promised clients that spending $200 on its software would guarantee them “make $20,000 in 20 days or your money back.”

A recording surfaced, dating back to 2006, where “Green” claimed his products could help listeners earn a “ton of cash by Christmas.”

Doubts were raised about the authenticity of at least three individuals who allegedly provided testimonials for the company, including “Sebastian Fox” and “Corinne Stockheath.”

Initially, Shapps vehemently denied using a pseudonym or having a second job while serving as an MP.

In 2014, he even threatened legal action against a constituent who made such claims on Facebook.

However, in 2015, he ultimately admitted to working a second job while holding parliamentary office and conducting business under a pseudonym, attributing his earlier denial to overzealousness.

Planes, Politics, and Controversies

In 2016, Shapps faced another setback.

He was compelled to resign as a trade minister amid allegations that he had failed to address bullying claims during his tenure as co-party chair, following the tragic death of party activist Elliott Johnson.

After facing various scandals and setbacks, Shapps returned to the backbenches for nearly four years.

In July 2019, Boris Johnson, the newly elected Prime Minister, appointed Shapps as Transport Secretary.

He presided over the transport department during the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent challenges associated with the resumption of travel.

His tenure included substantial investments in cycling lanes and e-scooter trials.

During his term as Transport Secretary, it was revealed that Shapps, an avid pilot, had registered his UK-based private plane in the US, allowing him to benefit from less stringent regulations than those imposed in the UK.

From ‘Spreadsheet Schemer’ to Defence Secretary

Shapps’ role as Transport Secretary continued until Boris Johnson’s resignation in July 2022.

Subsequently, he briefly entered the Tory leadership campaign but swiftly withdrew.

Upon Liz Truss becoming Prime Minister, Shapps was appointed Home Secretary in October 2022.

However, this appointment was remarkably brief, lasting just six days, as Truss resigned the following morning.

Despite his previous support for Sunak’s leadership bid, he was relieved of his duties by Truss, who allegedly informed him that there was “no room at the inn.”

Shapps was then designated as Business Secretary under Sunak’s leadership.

However, his cabinet role underwent another change, and he assumed the position of Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero in a subsequent cabinet reshuffle four months later.

Now, taking on the role of Defence Secretary, Shapps expressed his honor at the appointment and acknowledged Ben Wallace’s substantial contribution to UK defense and global security during the previous four years.

An Intriguing Career Path

Grant Shapps’ career has been marked by an array of controversies, a diverse set of roles within the UK government, and a remarkable ability to resurface even after challenges.

His journey from a car crash survivor and cancer conqueror to a multifaceted politician highlights the complexities and diversities often found in the world of politics.

As he takes on the pivotal role of Defence Secretary, his career continues to be one of intrigue and unexpected turns.

TDPel Media

This article was published on TDPel Media. Thanks for reading!

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