Tory party chairman Grant Shapps was this week mocked by senior politicians for denying that he edited his Wikipedia page and those of his rivals.
The online encyclopedia blocked a user account called ‘Contribsx’ saying it was being used for those purposes by him “or someone acting on his behalf”.
A third of the changes were to Shapps’ own entry, with embarrassing references to his past deleted, while the rest were “largely unflattering changes” to the pages of political rivals, including fellow Tories. Wikipedia’s administrators said: “Based on the evidence the account is either run by Shapps directly or by someone else – an assistant or a PR agency – but under his clear direction.”
Shapps, who is co-ordinating the Conservatives’ election campaign, dismissed the claim as “some random story” and “categorically false and defamatory,” adding that “nobody has ever been authorised to make such changes”.
His team said that on one of the four occasions when changes were made, he was in synagogue for Yom Kippur.
Shapps has faced questions about his online activity before. In 2012, changes were made to his Wikipedia page from computers in his constituency office.
There have also been several controversies over his series of get-rich-quick guides, published online under the pseudonym ‘Michael Green,’ including allegations of fake testimonials. Last month, he was forced to admit that despite saying he had stopped using the name on election in 2005, he was still using it a year later.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “He does not have time apparently to edit his own Wikipedia entry. I’m prepared to believe him. It could have been someone else. Michael Green for instance.”
Lord Ashdown, a former Liberal Democrat leader, sent out a press release describing Shapps as “a colossus”, adding that it had been “edited by Contribsx”.
Elsewhere, the Labour Party issued a series of name badges with Shapps’ image but with different names, while last month a man in Shapps’ Welwyn Hatfield constituency changed his name to Michael Green to run against him in the election.