Grant Shapps explains why he's backing Rishi Sunak for PM
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Yesterday, Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, pulled out of the race to become Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s replacement, as the bid for power intensifies. It is suggested Mr Shapps had been unable to secure enough support from Conservative MPs in order to get his name on the ballot paper. Instead, Mr Shapps threw his weight behind former Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s attempt to move to Downing Street, in a tweet.
The revelation means eight candidates are now frantically attempting to get MPs backing them.
In order to stay on the ballot, candidates must secure at least 30 or more nominations from MPs, or they will be eliminated from the selection competition.
ITV reported that so far Mr Sunak, and Penny Mordaunt are the first to be through comfortably onto the ballot paper.
In a tweet, Mr Shapps said: “Huge thanks to my team for helping to pull together my leadership bid in literally no time!
“Amongst a field of brilliant candidates I’ve spoken to [Mr Sunak] who I believe has the competence and experience to lead this country.”
While Mr Shapps’ quest to become Prime Minister ended in failure, it created a renewed interest into the 53-year-old, who has been Welwyn Hatfield’s MP since 2005.
This included archive accounts that showed when he was the Conservative Party Chairman, Mr Shapps reported edited a number of entries on his Wikipedia page.
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, which is written and maintained by the public, and a community of volunteers, who can edit entries on any passage submitted on the site.
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And in an Observer article from 2012, it was found that Mr Shapps had removed a number of piece of information about him including a reference to his time at Watford grammar school for boys.
The site originally claimed that he had “obtained four O-levels including an A in CDT”.
When it emerged Mr Shapps may have been behind the edits, an insider close to the minister argued that he wanted to change the page because he had actually got “five not four O-levels”.
Another edit made on the page was his record of donations for his private office, which were edited anonymously again.
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According to the Observer, the entry on his Wikipedia page originally said: “It was revealed in May 2008 that Grant Shapps, along with other shadow ministers, had taken large donations from companies related to his frontbench portfolio.
“The revelations were potentially damaging for Shapps given the extent of the donations he had received – tens of thousands of pounds from two online mortgage brokers, an estate agent, a commercial property developer and a firm of solicitors specialising in conveyancing and remortgaging – and the suggestion that these might be influencing Conservative policies.”
It added: “Grant Shapps has also received media attention for a number of unfortunate gaffes during his time on the Conservative frontbench.”
In its place, a section on the work Mr Shapps did on homelessness was added.
It was reported, Mr Shapps wrote: “His work became sufficiently influential within the homelessness sector when he launched the Homelessness Foundation with Conservative leader David Cameron in May 2008 and leading lights from the sector all joined the advisory panel of the Homelessness Foundation.”
Jack Dromey, the shadow housing minister, said Shapps gave “hubris a bad name”, adding: “Grant Shapps can’t hide from his past. Both he and the Conservative party were too close to Tory developers lavishing support on them.”
At the time, the Conservative Party refused to comment, and when contacted by Express.co.uk no response was given.
More recently, Ms Mordaunt and Mr Sunak remain the bookies’ favourite to become next Prime Minister.
Other contenders include Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat and Kemi Badenoch, Betfair reports.
Its spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said: “Penny Mordaunt had been joint-favourite with Rishi Sunak to be the next Tory leader after being backed into 9/4 from 5/1 overnight, however, the former Chancellor has moved back in front at 15/8 this morning to succeed Boris Johnson.
“Liz Truss trails behind at 9/2, while Tom Tugendhat and Kemi Badenoch are both 14/1. Elsewhere, Labour’s hopes of having a General Election this year seem slim at 15/1, with 2023 being 4/1.”
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