With senior Conservatives warning of “a crisis” if Maria Hutchings fails to win the Eastleigh by-election, it isn’t shaping up to be a good week for Grant Shapps, who as Tory chair is ultimately responsible for the party’s campaign in the marginal constituency. And it just got worse.
A Labour MP responsible for an official complaint against Shapps has ramped up the pressure on the Metropolitan Police to investigate the production of software apparently designed to rake in huge sums in online advertising revenue by plagiarising content on a massive scale. How To Corp, a company owned and operated by the Shapps family, may have committed offences under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.
Steve McCabe, who originally contacted the Met five months ago, has again written to the force, providing them with additional evidence — including a PDF manual for the controversial “Traffic Paymaster” software whose metadata reveals it was authored by “Grant”.
Scrapbook understands that the complaint is currently in the hands of the Met’s Directorate of Legal Services, who are responsible for assessing the complaint before passing it on to investigators. It has been suggested that Shapps’ high-profile role in the Conservative Party is a factor in the extensive delays. Indeed, Scrapbook has been attempting to elicit the status of the complaint from Scotland Yard for nearly six weeks without success.
They could always replace him with his deputy – Michael “blow job jokes on the campaign trail” Fabricant.