Grant Shapps cancelled a meeting last night at 45 minutes notice claiming he needed to go to a school parents’ evening. The Conservative Party chairman was due to make his first public appearance since he was accused of editing his own Wikipedia entry.
Mr Shapps had been set to attend a question and answer session at the JW3 Jewish Centre in North London. But less than an hour before the event started the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, was asked to step in. Organisers were forced to apologise to guests, who had not been told of the change until they arrived.
The Sky News presenter, Samantha Simmonds, opened the session by asking if Shapp’s sudden cancellation was a result of the allegations he had broken Wikipedia rules. Grayling insisted the two were unrelated, but did admit he was not told why the parents’ evening was so urgent.
Earlier in the day Shapps’ co-chairman Lord Feldman was seen heading into Conservative HQ. Minutes later both David Cameron and Grant Shapps arrived separately. Although the three spent some time in the building it is unclear whether they met.
Feldman was also present at the Jewish Cultural Centre, in a rare public appearance. He arrived shortly after the event started and sat on the front row. He did not speak.
Last week Shapps was accused of being behind the Wikipedia account ‘Contribsx’, which had continually deleted embarrassing information about the Tory chairman. It also added damaging information about other politicians. Shapps strongly denied the allegations and the Conservatives pointed out the story had come from a Liberal Democrat activist.
Despite his denials, Shapps has kept a low profile since the allegations surfaced, fueling rumours of a fallout with the Prime Minister. These rumours have been further driven by his absence from Twitter. Mr Shapps had not used his account in days, until earlier today when he sent a non-descript message about Britain’s GDP. He is usually a prolific user.
Conservatives sources claimed Shapps was not missing but was campaigning as part of his Team2015 volunteer programme. They assured Breitbart London evidence of his efforts will appear on his Twitter account shortly.
Shapps is widely accepted to be the most successful Conservative Party chairman in decades, but he has been subject to a series of attacks from the political left. One Conservative candidate told Breitbart London that any attempt to side-line him would prove unpopular. The source said: “Shapps is well liked and no one care believes the Wikipedia thing, he’s under attack because he’s done a good job.”