Is Grant Shapps using a robot to get more Twitter followers?

With oleaginous Tory Mark Clarke exposed by Liberal Conspiracy for accumulating as many as 50,000 fake Twitter followers, it appears that minister Grant Shapps may be trying to pull the oldest trick in the book: repeatedly following and unfollowing other users in a lame attempt to boost their own numbers.

The housing minister certainly has some unusual people in the 30,000 he has “chosen” to follow, including Spanish speakers, dormant accounts and someone called, erm, “Butthole Synonymous”. Even in the time we were writing this blog post, Shapps found time in his busy schedule to follow even more.

Numerous people have claimed that Shapps’ behaviour is consistent with someone attempting to inflate their followers, including someone who claims that he has “followed me three times now … He soon unfollows me though.” They’re not alone:

It would seem that Eric Pickles’ sidekick has form for this kind of online chicanery — in 2007 he was caught posing as a Liberal Democrat activist on YouTube.

So is Shapps using an auto-follow bot or is he spending the working day on Twitter?


  1. lisa
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Yes, he once followed me, too. Funny thing is, my tweets were locked and he was never given permission.

  2. Richard
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    He has followed and unfollowed me three times now.

  3. Angie Pedley
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I had an unsolicited tweet from someone offering to get me lots of followers. Odd.

  4. Lucas
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink


    The ‘in 2007′ link takes me to a suspended account.

    Only way I could get involved as he’s never once followed me and I’m feeling rather inadequate and unloved right now.

  5. Posted July 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Grant Shapps followed me for a while. Then unfollowed me. I was never tempted to follow him. Because he is a cunt.

  6. Paul Potts
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    This explains it. He followed and unfollowed me in short order the other month. Despite large numbers of my tweets referencing “Tory scum”.

  7. McWhirter Norris
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    This was always obviously the case, who could not look at the 25,000 people he’s following and the 50,000 people who are following him and not think a) he probably hasn’t clicked follow on 25,000 people, a fair proportion of whom seem to be random foreigners b) it’s a bit odd that a no-mark minister with a fairly low profile has 50,000+ followers, a fair proportion of whom seem to be random foreigners

    Of course your idiot lobby journalists wouldn’t question it because they’re…really really thick.

    this is amusing though –

    will they ask for the award back??

  8. Jim
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    omg no this will bring down the givernemtnt

  9. PiscatorRedux
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    If he followed me, I’d certainly summon a policeman and have him taken in charge.

  10. Posted July 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink


    No, it probably won’t bring down the “givernemtnt”. But then again, to my knowledge, neither has any blog post on any site. I guess we should all just give up, then?

  11. codhead99
    Posted July 17, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    If anyone wants to get shut of Shapps from following them, simply ask him one question: How do you propose to build a new house from the proceeds of the sale of a ‘right to buy’, when they will fall <£75k short of the cost of a new build?"

    Anyone who would choose to be subordinate to Eric Pickles must have a screw loose anyway

  12. Tom Scott
    Posted July 17, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Shapps has also followed and unfollowed me twice. I did not follow him back.

  13. Steven
    Posted July 17, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    This would be great if true but it’s GLARINGLY OBVIOUS to anyone with half a brain that Shapps has an “autofollowback” app enabled.

  14. mikems
    Posted July 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink


    Indeed. Can one of his followers also ask him why he is giving away public land to private developers who already sit on huge landbanks they aren’t building on?

  15. Posted July 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    @Steven: Errr … so why is he following people that aren’t following him then? Plenty of examples if you care to look.

    Sorry, you were saying something about “half a brain”? Please continue …

  16. Posted July 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    2 years ago, within minutes of joining Twitter the first message I received said ‘you are being followed by the Conservatives’. It was terrifying. Should I have called the police? As I spend a fair amount of time on my blog Red Brick denouncing Mr Shapps and all his works, I am disappointed he has not followed me. But preferably not down a dark alley. @stevehilditch

  17. Jay
    Posted September 30, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Ha ha “the oldest trick in the book”?? Wasn’t twitter invented a week last Wednesday? Who cares how many followers he has or hasn’t?

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