MP Shapps has fourth baby – but only on Twitter!

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

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.


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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.

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“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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