MP Shapps has fourth baby – but only on Twitter!

PUBLISHED: 18:34 08 March 2010 | UPDATED: 18:34 08 March 2010

Grant and Belinda Shapps with their three children, and dog Mr Crumble

Grant and Belinda Shapps with their three children, and dog Mr Crumble

Photography by Daniel Martin; Martin and Jones Limited; 0800 634 9272

WHEN you’ve just had a baby, it’s not unusual to receive calls and texts from friends and colleagues, offering their congratulations.

Nigel Nelson's tweet congratulating Grant on his 'new arrival'

And Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps’ phone was red-hot last week, with well-wishers keen to join in the celebrations on the birth of his and wife Belinda’s fourth child.

However, there was one small but rather vital thing missing – a baby.

For news of the latest addition to the Shapps clan had spread like wildfire – wrongly – on social networking site Twitter.

The saga started when Grant tweeted about a baby being born in the car park of the QE2 Hospital in WGC, a story carried in the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

The People political editor and columnist Nigel Nelson promptly sent Grant a message on Twitter to pass on his congratulations – and from there it snowballed.

Grant told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Nigel must have misread or misunderstood the tweet. He tweeted his message and that got re-tweeted and so on.

“I started to get calls and messages from people congratulating me.

“I was stunned. It was definitely the first I’d heard of it!”

Nigel, who is the longest-serving national newspaper political editor, said: “The trouble with Twitter is that what starts as a little 140 character joke can turn into a megaton misunderstanding.

“I didn’t really think Grant’s missus had just given birth in a hospital car park, but I know him well enough to think he would appreciate the gag.

“The tweet thread continued when Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow said she was missing her kids while on a weekend away.

“I suggested she could always go to the car park and borrow Grant’s. Now I’m beginning to wonder if she took me literally, too.”

He added: “Best not to crack any Twitter jokes about nuclear weapons in future!”

For the record, Grant and Belinda have three children: son Hadley, eight, and five-year-old twins Tabytha and Noa.

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