POLITICS

Grant Shapps Appointed International Development Minister - To The Surprise Of Many

11/05/2015 21:35 BST | Updated 11/05/2015 21:59 BST

Grant Shapps has been made international development minister in the Cabinet reshuffle, a move that has confounded his supporters and delighted his critics.

Shapps was moved to the new job from that of Conservative party chairman - regarded by most as a demotion - just days after it was reported that senior Tories had been urging the prime minister to sack him.

But it was also just days after the Tories won a majority against all expectations and the party chairman plays a crucial role in the electoral machine, running the party machine and overseeing Conservative Central Office.

It was announced on Monday evening after a day of new appointments. Earlier in the day, commentators were wondering what had happened to him when his name was not mentioned in the announcements.

grant shapps

Grant Shapps

He became mired in controversy after he was accused of anonymously editing his own entry and those of other Tory politicians on Wikipedia.

Shapps, who as chairman attended Cabinet as minister without portfolio, dismissed the accusations as "bonkers" and alleged that the anonymous Wikipedia "sock-puppet" might have been a member of Labour's press team.

At the time of the allegations, Cameron stood by the Shapps, insisting he was doing a "great job".

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Earlier in the year, Labour demanded an immediate investigation into whether Shapps had breached the codes of conduct for ministers and MPs after it was revealed that he continued working as a marketer of get-rich-quick schemes under the pseudonym Michael Green after entering Parliament.

He had emphatically denied the accusation only weeks earlier.

On Twitter, Shapps' critics reacted to the news with glee, with the press calling it a demotion.

Others expressed surprise Shapps was moved from chairman just after the party won an election.

Tim Shipman, political editor of The Sunday Times, quoted a "senior Tory" who downplayed Shapps' role in the election campaign.

Shapps will be replaced as chairman by Lord Feldman who will attend the prime minister's political cabinet.

Andrew Feldman was made a life peer by Cameron in 2010 and has served as co-chairman of the Conservative Party, alongside Shapps, since then.

According to the Conservative Home website, the peer, a barrister turned businessman, and the PM have been close friends since meeting at Oxford where they played tennis together.

Lord Feldman was also responsible for raising money during Cameron's successful Tory leadership campaign in 2005. He became the Conservatives' chief fundraiser shortly afterwards.

David Cameron's new MPs