Did Grant Shapps lie to Iain Dale?

If I were Iain Dale, I’d be feeling either rather foolish or rather cross with Grant Shapps. Why? Well it’s because of the allegations about Liberal Democrats and election poster displays which Grant Shapps persuaded Iain Dale to run on his blog.

Iain wrote at the time:

There must be some rather compelling evidence for Grant Shapps to make this direct accusation.

However, no evidence has ever been provided – although numerous people personally involved in Lib Dem poster campaigns have denied the story (and, to be fair to Iain, several of these denails were published in comments on his blog).

But scratching under the surface the story gets murkier: one former Liberal Democrat poster person (Hywel Morgan) emailed Grant Shapps, pointing out possible future employers would know of his involvement in poster campaigns and that there could be serious repercussions for his employment prospects if allegations about illegally postering were left hanging in the air.

How did Mr Shapps respond? He emailed on 4 July admitting that, well, he didn’t have any decent evidence:

I do not have a list of the by-election contests which were alleged to be involved in this practice

Nor did he go on to provide any evidence at all for the claims. 

So, there are two possibilities here. Either (a) Iain published the story without asking Grant Shapps what the evidence was (which would be foolish, and surely not what a respected political commentator would do*) or (b) he asked and was assured that Grant Shapps did have good evidence, which would have been, err…, untrue.

Oh, and by the way – Grant Shapps did promise that an unnamed media organisation was researching a piece and was planning to run a “major package” in the next fourteen days. That deadline expired on July 19th, and no – no such package ever surfaced.

* If you are suffering apoplexy at this point, pause to consider that you may have missed a smattering of irony.

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  • If the story wasn’t true why weren’t there many libdem posters in Ealing?

  • If the story were true, why hasn’t any evidence been presented? Oh and yes, I saw plenty of posters.

    But as it’s the question season – “JJ”: do you have any explanation why your computer appears to have also been used to post a comment on this site claiming to be from a Mr Singh, a disgruntled Lib Dem voter? Are the two of you one and the same?

  • Grant Shapps is a goner. Whatever credibility he had he p***ed away in Ealing. I hope he enjoys backbench life because he’s going to be there for a long time.

  • Lib Dem member 5th Aug '07 - 9:28am

    Reading Mr Dale’s blog this morning, I think he is feeling a bit crestfallen about all this, because he’s admitted he held off another story as he did not have the evidence to prove it. It read to me like he was saying, “I am a serious journalist and I want evidence (now) before publishing things”.

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