Grant Shapps: ‘Wikipedia boss says there is a full investigation over false claims’
PUBLISHED: 12:30 23 April 2015 | UPDATED: 15:27 23 April 2015
Welwyn Hatfield’s Conservative candidate Grant Shapps said he has spoken to the founder of Wikipedia after a controversy over changes to entries escalated.
The Tory party chairman denies having anything to do with an account which made changes to his own page, as well as those of his rivals, on the online encyclopedia.
The user, with a profile name Contribsx, has been blocked after an administrator ruled it could be linked to Mr Shapps.
But Mr Shapps has branded the story, originally reported in the Guardian, “mischievous, false and defamatory”.
The Tory candidate said he had spoken to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales yesterday (Wednesday).
Mr Shapps told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “He said that the administrator who had posted (we now know he’s a Lib Dem activist) quote to the Guardian didn’t represent the ‘corporate position of Wikipedia’.”
Mr Shapps said the Wikipedia boss told him the administrator should have escalated the matter to his bosses, rather than ban the specific account.
The Conservative candidate added that the administrator had been “chastised”, and said an internal investigation had been launched.
After the claims were published, a tongue-in-cheek press release was sent out by Lib Dem headquarters.
Branding Mr Shapps a “colossus”, it had a cheeky note at the bottom saying the press release had been modified by Wikipedia user Contribsx.
Mr Shapps said: “The original story was mischievous, false and defamatory.
“Some have commented that the Lib Dems jumped over it rather too fast.
“It was as if they had advance notice, and so they are now left with questions to answer.”