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Statement on the resignation of Grant Shapps as international development minister

It should be remembered first and foremost that this issue centres on the tragic death of a young man. As the details and facts emerge - as they must, it is important for all to bear that in mind.

It is quite clear given the nature of the allegations that only a full and independent enquiry is a satisfactory way to investigate what has happened and who is responsible.

That is more important than the career or legacy of Welwyn Hatfield’s current MP.

It would be wrong to think that resigning from a junior position in government, in order to carry on with a supremely privileged position as an MP, means that the issue is resolved.

If someone is not deemed fit enough to be co-chairman of the Tory Party, if that person is then not deemed credible to be a junior minister, then how are they in any way fit to be a member of parliament for Welwyn Hatfield?

Many voters in this Borough find it nearly impossible to believe that such an affable man as had appeared on their doorstep is capable, let alone guilty, of the many allegations levied at him over the past 24 months.

The sad truth, however, is that this is a politician who has made a career from convincing people of his sincerity, against all available facts.

It is fitting indeed in this modern day of spin politics that there has been no truth that a timely press release or e-mail shot could not deal with. No bad deed that could not be countered with a photo-shoot.

The more ludicrous the scandal, such as threatening to sue one of his own constituents, the more simply they can be shrugged off.

The meetings with constituents suffering from cuts to their benefits or having to pay the bedroom tax, unashamedly noting their concerns and requesting the local authorities ‘do more’ to help out the victims of his ideology.

The disturbing reality is the pattern of someone so convinced by their own ability to persuade others that black was white and wrong was right, that they keep on going until the charade shatters and they are found out.

In a relatively short space of time, Grant Shapps has time and again been found willing to bend the truth to suit his own position – with no apology ever being made once this has been uncovered.

The buck may stop with Mr Shapps - but, the buck will not stop with his resignation from a junior ministerial post.

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