July 2007: Shapps is accused of pretending to be a Lib Dem in the comments of a YouTube video while forgetting he's logged in under his own name.
Under this official Liberal Democrats video, a comment is posted which reads, "Okay, realistically we’re not going to win though. Especially since the Tories have just received 5 defecting Councillors from Labour. Don’t quite know how they’ve done it, but the Tories have stolen a march on us this time."
A blog post by Conservative commentator Iain Dale quoted a Conservative spokesperson who said it appeared Shapps' account had been hacked, because his password was "1234". Shapps denied any involvement.
July 2012: Shapps is accused of using a bot to pick up Twitter followers.
September 2012: Google bans 19 sites run by Shapps' wife, mother or sister from carrying its advertising.
The websites had also been relegated to the bottom of its search results, the Guardian reported.
According to the paper:
The network of websites, which includes howto-findhappiness.com and meaning-of-dreams.com, breached the rules by replicating content from other sites in a process known as "spinning and scraping" in order to jump higher up Google's search rankings and increase advertising revenue.
The paper explained how Shapps' mother, Beryl, was the company secretary and his sister also "involved" in the business behind www.auctiongirl.co.uk, a website owned by Shapps' HowtoCorp.com. It sold items on eBay for clients in exchange for half the takings.
September 2012: It emerges that Shapps posed under a pseudonym as a web guru at a Las Vegas conference.
September 2012: Shapps is also revealed to have altered his Wikipedia biography.
The paper reported:
A source close to Shapps said the deletion of the reference to his qualifications had been made because the O-level entry was incorrect and he had "five not four O-levels". A spokesman refused to comment on the grades he had attained.
Around this time Shapps is chased around Conservative party conference by Michael Crick over the allegations.
October 2012: Shapps is investigated by the Advertising Standards Agency over his use of the alias "Michael Green".
According to the Telegraph:
The probe into Mr Shapps is focusing on his claims to be a self-help guru called Michael Green on a website called howtocorp.com.
A complaint to the ASA alleges that the website misled the public by presenting Michael Green as a genuine businessman with a personal fortune of £17 million, who would share the secrets of his success for a fee.
The case is eventually closed. An ASA spokesperson says: "We have resolved the matter informally with How To Corp. We have received assurances that the marketer will in future make clear if pseudonyms are used and that they will not use testimonials in the absence of adequate evidence."
October 2012: Blogger Adrian Short draws attention to some of the sales patter on a Shapps site.
January 2014: People are still really confused as to why Shapps is following them on Twitter.
November 2014: Shapps hires a law firm retained by the Conservatives to put legal pressure on a constituent who claimed on Facebook that he pursued his business interests after becoming an MP.
March 2015: Shapps confirms he did use the name Michael Green while an MP.
April 2015: Shapps, or someone close to him, is accused of making more anonymous edits to Wikipedia.
His team deny the accusations and claim they are politically motivated.
Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Alan White at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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