CONSERVATIVE party chairman Grant Shapps has been forced to admit that he did work as a web marketer under a pseudonym after entering parliament.
A recording has emerged from 2006, a year after he was elected, that captures the MP selling business self-help guide Stinking Rich 3 and claiming his products could make listeners a “ton of cash by Christmas”, according to the Guardian.
Mr Shapps used to run the HowToCorp website which featured get-rich-quick advice from supposedly successful businessmen Sebastian Fox and Michael Green - a name the Tory used as a business alias.
In the recording, the senior Tory, under the Green pseudonym, told a fellow entrepreneur that the guide “is not a cheap product, but it’s a great internet marketing product”.
Asked about second jobs on LBC last month, Mr Shapps said: “To be absolutely clear I don’t have a second job and I have never had a second job whilst being an MP. End of story.”
But now the Conservatives say that although the chairman had talked of his writing career having ended when he became an MP “in fact it ended shortly afterwards”.
Mr Shapps insisted that it was an “old story” and his business dealings had all been properly declared.
Labour called for Prime Minister David Cameron to launch an investigation to “establish all the facts”.
Karl Turner, shadow solicitor general, said: “It beggars belief that the chairman of the Conservative Party went on live radio just three weeks ago and stated three times that he was not doing business as Michael Green while he was an MP, when new reports and audio tonight show quite clearly that he did.
“It seems that Mr Shapps’ repeated denials, which were not in the heat of the moment but also included a calculated decision to instruct solicitors, were contrary to the facts. He also appears to have threatened legal action on the basis of this.
“David Cameron must now order an immediate inquiry into Mr Shapps’ conduct and establish all the facts in the interest of the public.”
Mr Shapp tweeted: “Old story: all properly declared at the time and all many years ago. Labour just hate business.”
A Conservative party spokesman 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.”
Labour MP John Mann said Mr Shapps had “clearly failed” to meet the expected standard of openness and honesty and should lose his ministerial role.
“The Government made a big play after the expenses scandal of bringing back integrity to politics and this does the exact opposite,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.
“You can’t have a government minister who isn’t honest and breaches one of those standards.
“That’s what the standards are there for. He has breached them and he should go as Minister without Portfolio.”