Grant Shapps has been ambushed with legal papers from a constituent demanding an apology over his second-job saga.
Last year, the Conservative party chairman threatened former Labour councillor Dean Archer with legal action after Archer published a Facebook post suggesting that Shapps continued his work as a marketing guru under the pseudonym Michael Green after he had been elected to parliament.
Archer told The Observer that Shapps’ lawyers had “bullied and forced” him into writing an apology and a retraction.
But Shapps has since admitted he “screwed up” by “over-firmly” denying that he continued his work as Michael Green after he was an MP, and Archer wants Shapps to apologise for the distress caused by last year’s legal action.
Archer’s press officer stood outside the building scouting for Shapps, and it had been carefully planned that Archer would spring out from behind the door as soon as Shapps was “within about 10 paces”.
For a while, it seemed that there would be disappointment. Shapps had been scheduled to arrive at 12.50pm but didn’t show, prompting Archer to ask BuzzFeed News if there was a secret entrance to the building he didn’t know about.
The MP took the letter without comment, and Archer told BuzzFeed News he was disappointed that he hadn’t received an apology during the ambush.
“It’s time to sort this out,” said Archer. “I exposed Shapps’ lies and I need an apology now, but he didn’t look at me, he didn’t say anything, he didn’t apologise.”
He continued: “I think [Shapps] is vindictive, dishonest, and a liar. Also, I can’t believe he came from parliament to here in his car – what a lazy bastard.”
Shapps has accepted that he made a mistake by previously denying he had a second job while he was an MP, but said it was not against parliamentary rules.