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Offline Grant Shapps MP

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Grant Shapps MP
« on: June 04, 2005, 06:59:32 pm »
Quote

Editor's Note:

This thread was not started by Grant Shapps MP. The first post in this new thread was in reply to a post in a thread about the former MP, Melanie Johnson. However, because the debate had started to shift away from a discussion about the previous MP to a discussion about the current MP, I decided to split this thread in two as it seemed inappropriate for it to have the title 'Melanie Johnson MP'.

There are now two threads running Melanie Johnson MP and Grant Shapps MP

The following is what Grant Shapps MP posted in the Melanie Johnson thread. To put it into context you might want to
Click here to read what Grant Shapps MP was replying to..

David Brewer - Editor


Hi Max,

>> Before we get too lavish with our praise for the self-sacrificing Mr Shapps, I wonder what his anual income is for his non-political activitities, and how this compares with that of Ms Johnson?

The print business that I've worked for 15 years setting up from scratch and building into a reasonable company can hardly be considered as an outside consultancy in my case.  Anyone who has struggled and fought as a self-employed person building up their own business would take some offence from being lumped in wiith those who get elected and as a result of their position, accept paid consultancies.  I hope you'll accept that what I've done is entirely different.  Just for additional clarity, my print biz now operates without my direct input, so I am a full time MP and completely focused on Welwyn Hatfield.

Other than that, I accept many of your comments above and it might interest you to read the comments that I made about our former MP during my maiden speech last week:
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm050526/debtext/50526-12.htm#50526-12_spnew0

Grant.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2005, 08:22:19 am by Editor »
 

Offline Editor

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2005, 07:34:01 pm »

Just for additional clarity, my print biz now operates without my direct input, so I am a full time MP and completely focused on Welwyn Hatfield.


Hi Grant,

Does that mean that you only take an MPs salary and have no other business interests or income?

David
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Offline James Bentall

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2005, 07:52:54 pm »
Completely off topic for this thread at the moment, but can I just say to Grant how nice it is to see our elected member of parliament commenting on a local forum, and I hope his involvement and willingness to answer points directed at him will continue - thanks.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2005, 09:14:07 pm by James Bentall »
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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2005, 08:30:48 pm »
Hi Grant,

Firstly, I totally agree with James'. I do not expect busy politicians to get involved in this kind of forum, but it is nice when they do. Secondly, I appreciate what you said about taking offence from being lumped in with those who get elected and as a result of their position, accept paid consultancies, although as a Conservative M.P. you must find yourself among such people a good deal of the time. In your case, I stand corrected, but I think it is still to be accepted that there are probably more people within the ranks of the Conservative party from wealthy business backgrounds, and far more people on the labour side whose background is in areas like the social services, with far less money behind them. You seem to accept this point yourself, so we are not at odds here, and indeed, it is clear from your link that you do not make the same criticisms of your predecessor as have been made elsewhere in this forum. Maybe M.P.s should be means tested and their allowances adjusted accordingly.

Personally, I rather regret this constant villification of politicians, whether or the right (far right excepted of course) or left. I don't think anyone ever got elected as an M.P. without putting in a great deal of very hard work, and however you argue about the rights and wrongs of the system, it is ludicrous to suggest the UK (or indeed the EU) is not fully democratic. Anyone who thinks he/she could do better should put your his/her money where his/her mouth is, as you yourself have done. As you might have gathered, I am "on the other team", politically speaking but am not one of those embittered people who thinks that having differing ideas as to what our economic priorities should be should make people enemies, and I would like to wish you good luck whilst you are in office. Go ahead and prove me wrong, if you can!
 

Offline Editor

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2005, 08:59:19 pm »
I have split this thread in two. The comments in Grant's post, which is now at the head of this thread, were in response to a thread about the former MP for Welwyn Hatfield, Melanie Johnson. If people want to post about Melanie Johnson, please click here and add your views to that thread. However, those who want to discuss the new MP for Welwyn Hatfield, Grant Shapps, please add your comments to this thread.

David
« Last Edit: June 05, 2005, 07:23:04 am by Editor »
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Offline sasquartch

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2005, 09:56:33 am »
I think Grant has made it clear that he does have other interests, ie his print business. He has also stated that he does not need to devote any significant time to running it and focusses his time and energy on being an MP.
I think it is pretty clear he will receive an income from it (assuming his business is profitable) - I can't really see anything wrong with that. I doubt many people have no investments whatsoever, whether a few FTSE-100 shares perhaps or a significant share of a company. Any money he makes from his business is as a result of his hard work over the last 15 years.
Personally I'd much rather have an MP who has made his money 'the hard way' and has experience first hand of having to make things work.
BTW, I am not one of Grant's cronies - just someone who voted for him because he actually bothered to actively canvass for my vote.
 

Offline jet

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2005, 10:23:14 am »
Neither the EU or Britain is democratic in the original meaning of the word.
Democracy started in Greece and was in no way available to all, ie women and slaves.
The goverment of Britain was not elected by the majority of the people.
The EU in its present form is not wanted by the majority of the people.
If anyone wants a true democracy then either a two party system or  a clear majority ie over 50% of the electorate should be required.
As for politicians its all about personal power and the infliction of their own will above others.
When was the last time any MP achieved something that the people wanted?
regards,
jet
 

Offline Editor

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2005, 10:37:57 am »

I think Grant has made it clear that he does have other interests, ie his print business. He has also stated that he does not need to devote any significant time to running it and focusses his time and energy on being an MP.
I think it is pretty clear he will receive an income from it (assuming his business is profitable) - I can't really see anything wrong with that.


Hi Sasquartch,

Yes, I think we all know our MP has a print business. I was asking whether he had any other outside interests that he will be declaring. I am sure he will reply.

David
« Last Edit: June 06, 2005, 10:57:49 am by Editor »
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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2005, 06:18:30 pm »
Sasquartch,

Yes, Grant has now made his position clear. Of course I see nothing wrong with people building up their own companies and making good money from doing this. I merely believe that if it were not possible for a politician to earn a decent amount of money in a  fairly short time, this would be a serious disincentive to those coming from less well rewarded but no less admirable or necessary fields of endeavour, such as, say, the social services or technolgy based jobs where keeping up to date with new inovations is an essential aspect of remaining employable. Certainly, in my case, if I were to spend 8 years out of my professional field (oil exploration, if you were wondering) working as an MP, I would require a financial cushion that I could hope to keep me going for at least a year or two, before I had made up the ground necessary to get back into my former career.

jet,

We are governed by politicians elected under a system that most parties agree to. That we choose to continually elect parties that support the system as it now is suggests to me that there is a concensus to keep things as they are. Otherwise, we would vote for a party (eg the Lib Dems) that advocates changing the system to a proportional one. I really fail to see how restricting our choice to one of two parties could in any way be seen as a democratic move. What  law could you envoke to exclude the other parties from standing for office? I would, on the other hand, favour making voting compulsory. You could still spoil your ballot paper or be provided with the option "None of the above", if you did not wish to give your support to any candidate. It is far more likely that your 50% criterion would be satisfied in such circumstances, and I agree with you that this would be desirable. As things stand, we do not know whether those who do not vote are motivated by politcal considerations, or just sloth and apathy.



 

Offline Editor

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2005, 08:46:26 pm »

Yes, Grant has now made his position clear.


Has he? I asked earlier in this thread whether he had any other business interests other than the print business we all know about, but apart from a reply from Sasquarch, our MP has not replied to this.

I understand the Register of Members' Interests is published in the autumn, so we should know by then, but I just thought he might clarify now so we know how focused he is able to be on local constituency issues.

David

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2005, 09:34:51 pm »
The print business that I've worked for 15 years setting up from scratch and building into a reasonable company can hardly be considered as an outside consultancy in my case.  Anyone who has struggled and fought as a self-employed person building up their own business would take some offence from being lumped in wiith those who get elected and as a result of their position, accept paid consultancies.  I hope you'll accept that what I've done is entirely different.  Just for additional clarity, my print biz now operates without my direct input, so I am a full time MP and completely focused on Welwyn Hatfield.

Grant.
Quote

Although he does not specifically state that he has no other businesses, I take it that this is implied when he states that he is a full time MP and "completely focused on Welwyn Hatfield".

 

Offline Grant Shapps MP

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2005, 12:18:46 am »
Hi all,

Interesting debate. The point I was trying to make is that I’m a full time MP. That's what I do. Those who take the train in the morning will sometimes see me going to London, though my schedule is different everyday due to the unusual business hours at parliament.  Before I get on the train I'm working in the constituency on day to day case work, either from home, the constituency office or out and about visiting people and places in Welwyn Hatfield.

In terms of outside interests, I don't have anything that takes up any significant time. In the past three or four months I have visited my print business just once for a meeting which lasted around one hour. That's it!  I’ve worked hard for 15 years to specifically get the business running without my input.

Naturally when it comes to declaring for the register of interests I will mention my print biz (which as founder, I am still a Director of) and my online marketing company that I run alongside. Salaries are not actually declared in the Register, which is not intended to be a wealth index, but out of interest, I draw very little salary indeed and will be remunerated by dividends at the end of the year if my print business makes money (not a given as anyone in print will tell you).  Nothing that I do outside being the MP takes up any more time than say running this forum as a hobby for example and probably far less time than that, as I’ve described.

In terms of the general debate, I agree with quite a lot of the comment here. If we want career politicians we can have them quickly and easily, by banning any kind of outside interests at all, regardless of whether the outside interest came before or after the career in parliament (and that’s a big difference in my view). However, bear in mind that no outside interest by definition means a diminishing experience of the real world. I know who I'd rather have running the country. People with actual experience and at least a modicum of current exposure to the pressures of business, industry or even social services (…add your own profession here).

In reality I suspect the days of barristers working in the morning in their chambers and then voting in the afternoon have probably all but gone. I’ve just arrived home from the last vote and I write this after midnight.  My PA arrives here at 8am tomorrow morning to continue with case work, quite where another full or even part time profession would fit in, I can’t even imagine!

All the best,
Grant.

 

Offline jet

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2005, 07:42:18 pm »
Wise man Grant, Dividends eh? and a low salary. That is tax and national insurance avoidance. If you do not take a reasonable salary and take a higher dividend than salary you may receive a nasty surprise from the tax man.
regards,
jet
 

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2005, 10:05:22 pm »
There’s a new website from the creators of the excellent They Work For You called Hear from your MP (click here to link) which aims to get MPs more in touch with the people the work for. Early days yet, but I recommend signing up because if enough of us do they will have to use it - and you won't have to sign up to any MP's spam email list.
 

Offline Grant Shapps MP

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2005, 02:28:12 pm »
Hi All,

I've been in touch with the creator of They Work For You over recent weeks.  He's doing a great job with that site (which he seems to do for fun) and it really does make the work done at Westminster more accessible for everyone.

Some of the reporting features are a little bit blunt because, for example, if you speak several times during the same debate it only registers once. If you speak in the second debating chamber (it’s called Westminster Hall and most people outside Parliament aren’t even aware that it exists) that doesn’t register at all and nor do speeches in Committees (select or standing). A further improvement might be a section which lists how many Early Day Motions (EDMs) have been signed by your MP.

Nonetheless, it is a very worthwhile project and I've noticed that a lot of people contact me via that website. The new feature that you’re referring to is apparently in the experimental phase and it will be interesting to see how that develops.

Incidentally, as ever, if anyone needs to contact me directly they can always find me via www.TheyWorkForYou.com or by simply emailing me direct at grant@shapps.com -- I personally read and reply to every email that I receive.

All the best,
Grant Shapps MP
 

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2006, 03:57:06 pm »
Hi Grant

I see that your outside financial interests are becoming a bit clearer.

The 'Guardian' ran a piece in its Diary column on your parliamentary declaration of interests, which stated that you were not only a Director and major shareholder in your print business, PrintHouse Corporation, but were also a Director and major shareholder in How To Corp, a US-based internet marketing company.  A number of local residents have picked up the Guardian article and have commented in the letters columns of the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

It apears that you run How To Corp under the assumed name of 'Michael Green'.  Your explanation for this modesty is that you didn't want to confuse your constituents who might be surfing the internet for your political views on a particular topic.  Isn't this a tad disingenuous?  You must have known that if you were elected you would have to declare your financial interests and your ownership of your internet company would become public knowledge.

 

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2006, 04:37:39 pm »
Nemesis, naming yourself after the god of vengeance – I like your style.

Someone pointed Grant’s “other interests” out to me last year, prior to the election. At the time it rung alarm bells as I tend to equate assumed names with people with something to hide – which is the reason I post here under my own name. I did some digging, which was admittedly very limited, and found out that this had been reported a year earlier click here. I couldn’t find anyone making major complaints and couldn't see that he’d actually done anything wrong. I did check a little while ago that he had declared his interest in this company – too many MP ‘forget’ to – and he had.

I’m am pretty neutral when it comes to Grant – which is a lot more positive than our last two MPs – but I can’t see that he’s done anything wrong here.
 

Offline sasquartch

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2006, 04:43:42 pm »
If Grant has correctly and properly declared his interests then what's the problem ?

Surely if he HADN'T declared something he should then that would be grounds for concern. As far as I can tell he has done everything correctly, unfortunately that can't be said for everyone in parliament (A certain minister and council tax springs to mind !)

There will always be people trying to rake up dirt about people in public office and of course it is important to know we are represented by honest people - however in this instance I really don't see a problem

 

Offline Bada Bing

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2006, 02:14:23 pm »
Might not be to everyones taste but I see nothing wrong in what Grant has done.
 

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2006, 09:30:09 pm »
John Fraser

Thanks for unearthing the link to the internet marketing blog page which 'reveals' that 'Michael Green' (owner of HowToCorp) is Grant Shapps under an assumed name.  Googling 'Grant Shapps' gives over 20,000 hits, but only one (apart from the recent Guardian article and Welwyn Hatfield Times letters) makes this connection.  Good detective work! - but it illustrates my point that he has been extremely reticent in making public his ownership of HowToCorp.   

Sasquartch & Banda Bing

I am not suggesting that he has done anything 'wrong' in as far as informing the parliamentary authorities of his outside financial interests is concerned.  I am just puzzled as to why he didn't inform his constituents in Welwyn Hatfield about his second business.  Mr Shapps has an enviable talent for self-promotion and his ownership of printing company, PrintHouse Corporation, has been well publicised in his leaflets and on his website.  I would have thought that his ownership of an apparently successful internet marketing company would have been very suitable for inclusion in his CV.

Shouldn't the financial interests of elected public office holders be easily accessible and fully transparent to those who elected them?





 
 

Offline supersonic

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2006, 10:50:56 pm »
Grant,

Great to see from your post on the Local crime and community policing thread that you're about and following what the community is saying. And a shame that at the same time you didn't have the courtesy to post an explanation on this thread about your apparent and less than transparent decision to disguise behind an assumed name your ownership of HowToCorp


supersonic
 

Offline Grant Shapps MP

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2006, 11:49:37 pm »
>> Great to see from your post on the Local crime and community policing thread that you're about and following what the community is saying. And a shame that at the same time you didn't have the courtesy to post an explanation on this thread about your apparent and less than transparent decision to disguise behind an assumed name your ownership of HowToCorp

Thought that dealing with the serious problems of the break-ins in Brookmans Park were more important to post on than a discussion about my personal business, which I've properly declared in the members interests - without which we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Grant Shapps MP
 

Offline john

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2006, 08:25:24 am »
If we now know that Michael Green = Grant, wouldn't it be only fair to know who Nemesis is ... ?   
 

Offline sasquartch

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2006, 11:25:57 am »
Quote
  Shouldn't the financial interests of elected public office holders be easily accessible and fully transparent to those who elected them?
 

Well I think they quite evidently are - Grant has declared all his interests properly.

The important thing surely, is that Grant is getting involved in local issues which after all, is why many people voted for him.

 

Offline steve

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2006, 06:33:37 pm »
i think he does a good job
 

Offline Bada Bing

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2006, 07:59:03 am »
So far I feel he is doing a good job.

Let's offer him our support and encouragement and see what happens.
 

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2006, 09:29:52 am »
I agree, let's judge Grant on his performance as our MP - let's face it I can't imagine Melanie Johnson ever having the slightest interest in BP
 

Offline southbury

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2006, 09:54:32 am »
Absolutely.
 

Offline Cassie

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #28 on: January 25, 2006, 10:25:45 am »
I agree, let's judge Grant on his performance as our MP - let's face it I can't imagine Melanie Johnson ever having the slightest interest in BP

... and not just Brookmans Park!!

Would like to echo the thoughts of the above - well done, so far, Grant :)
 

Offline Nemesis

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Re: Grant Shapps MP
« Reply #29 on: January 25, 2006, 10:37:45 pm »
Sasquatch, Steve, Bada Bing, Southbury and Cassie:

You seem to be missing the point.  Regardless of whether or not he is doing a 'good job', he was not forthcoming before the general election on his second business, which, in case I need to remind you, he runs under an assumed name.  Surely the electors of Welwyn Hatfield deserved to be made aware of this before they cast their votes, and not have to wait until after he was elected and was obliged to reveal it in the statutory declaration of interests.

As he says: "....... without [the declaration of members interests] we wouldn't even be having this conversation."

People running for public office should be completely transparent about their outside interests, and would-be MPs should reveal to their electors everything they know they would later have to declare to the parliamentary authorities.

In public life, doing a 'good job' is not enough.

 
 

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