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Labour MP Calls For Tory Chairman To Quit Over Claims That He Lied Over Second Job

Grant Shapps has denied on several occasions that he carried on working as an internet marketer as an MP. Now there appears to be evidence to prove it.

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A Labour MP has called for the suspension of Grant Shapps, the Conservative party chairman, because new evidence suggests that he held a second job for at least a year after being an MP.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Shapps has repeatedly said that he wound up his career as a internet marketing expert – carried out using the pseudonym "Michael Green" – once he became an MP.

But The Guardian has found a recording from 2006, a year after Shapps became an MP, in which "Michael Green" advertises his upcoming book, Get Stinking Rich 3.

This would mean that he was still involved in a second business when he was an MP.

Last month Shapps denied three times that he had continued his second job as an MP. Here he is making that claim on LBC:

vine.co

Shapps has since said that he "screwed up" in the interview, admitting that he "over-firmly" denied the allegations.

John Mann, a Labour MP, called on the prime minister to "sack Grant Shapps as Minister without Portfolio".

My letter to David Cameron calling on him to sack Grant Shapps as Minister without Portfolio

Shadow cabinet office minister Lucy Powell called on the prime minister to launch an investigation into whether Shapps broke the ministerial code.

But the prime minister's spokesperson said: "Grant has said he made a mistake and the PM absolutely accepts that."

For years, Shapps operated a business under the "Michael Green" pseudonym, posing as a millionaire web marketer.

I think this story about Grant Shapps being Michael Green is just another left-wing plot. No resemblance whatsoever.

Although the Tory chairman initially denied operating as Green, he eventually admitted using the pen name, saying it was not uncommon for MPs to use a separate business name.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

In the video above, Channel 4 political correspondent Michael Crick chases Shapps around the Conservative party conference asking him questions about the alias while Shapps attempts to find somewhere to go.

Despite this, Shapps apparently threatened one of his constituents, a former Labour councillor, with legal action when the constituent claimed Shapps used the pseudonym.

According to documents seen by The Guardian, lawyers for Shapps forced the constituent to post a Facebook status explicitly making clear that Shapps has never lied using about the pen name while an MP.

The apology was to say: "Mr Shapps MP has at no time misled over the use of a pen name. Indeed, I now understand that he openly published his full name alongside business publications making it clear that he used a pen name merely to separate business and politics, prior to entering parliament."

Meanwhile, Tory MPs have rushed to Shapps's defence, arguing that Labour is "anti-business" for criticising him.

Unbelievable Lab/Guard/BBC attack on @grantshapps. His sin not 2 use pseudonym but 2 write books about how 2 create wealth - shock horror...

Labour don't like fact @grantshapps is a business success. They hate that he's a great party chairman who'll defeat them in May.

Same old story from @labourpress & @guardian trying to discredit @grantshapps he declared it all at the time! Shame @UKLabour hate business!

A statement from the Conservative party said: "Like many authors and journalists, Grant wrote with a pen name. This was completely transparent: His full name and biographical details were permanently published on the company's main website.

"Given that this was a decade ago, and was mentioned during the cut and thrust of an interview, he referenced that his writing career had ended when he became an MP: In fact it ended shortly afterwards."

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at siraj.datoo@buzzfeed.com.

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