Born in Hertfordshire in 1968, Grant was educated at Watford Grammar and Cassio College Watford, before studying Business & Finance at Manchester in the late 1980s. In 1990, Grant founded his own printing company at the age of just 21.
Originally started as a small printing shop, PrintHouse Corporation grew into a commercial design, print & web development company with clients throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Grant successfully established a team of fellow Directors who now run the business today without his input.
Grant says that his experience of creating and running his own business has been very helpful in providing the necessary skills to be a Government Minister, particularly when it comes to working with the Civil Service. He has also found the skills he picked up in business have been invaluable in representing the concerns of his constituents .
Grant married Belinda in 1997. The couple live in Welwyn Hatfield and play an active role in the community. They have a boy named Hadley born 2001 and twins born April 2004 called Tabytha (girl) and Noa (boy). Grant holds a pilot’s licence and enjoys general aviation as a pastime.
In the 1997 General Election Grant challenged the Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes MP in his North Southwark & Bermondsey seat.
In 1999 he was selected as the candidate for the then Labour seat of Welwyn Hatfield for the 2001 General Election. He produced one of the best Conservative swings of the election, slashing the then Labour majority from 5,595 to just 1,196.
Grant was reselected for Welwyn Hatfield in 2002 and went on to win the May 2005 General Election with a majority of 5,946 taking his seat from Labour Minister Melanie Johnson. The 8.2 swing was one of the biggest nationwide.
In May 2010 he was re-elected for Welwyn Hatfield with a surprising 17,423 majority. The 11.1 swing was once again one of the largest national swings to the Conservatives in the country and easily Welwyn Hatfield’s biggest ever majority for an MP of any Party. Grant was the first MP in Welwyn Hatfield’s history to receive over 50 of the vote and repeated this feat in 2015 and 2017.
Parliament and posts
The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP is Co-Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain (APPG Blockchain). Grant was a member of the Public Administration Select Committee between May 2005 and Spring 2007. In December 2005, he was appointed as a Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, with responsibility for campaigning. In July 2007 Grant was promoted to Shadow Housing Minister attending Shadow Cabinet. After the May 2010 election Grant Shapps became Minister of State for Housing & Local Government in the Coalition Government. In June 2010 Grant was made a Privy Counsellor by the Queen, meaning that he may use the title The Right Honourable before his name. In September 2012 Grant was appointed as Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet. He remained as Chairman through to the 2015 election and helped pioneer the unexpected 2015 Conservative outright majority.
In May 2015 Grant was appointed Minister of State for International Development, shortly thereafter he was also appointed as Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; becoming the first Minister of State to hold both posts simultaneously.
Since leaving ministerial office, Grant has built and chaired the British Infrastructure Group of MPs (BIG) which brings together cross-party Members of Parliament dedicated to promoting better infrastructure across the United Kingdom. The core purpose of BIG is to ensure that every opportunity for growth is seized, with bold and thoughtful recommendations, backed by authoritative research and evidence. Each report released focuses on a different area of current or future infrastructure need, identifying shortcomings and setting out measures for improvement. Grant is also Chair of parliament’s largest All-Party Parliamentary Group, on General Aviation.
Grant says that his experience of creating and running his own business was very helpful in providing the necessary skills to be a Government Minister and in winning the 2015 general election. He has also found the skills he picked up in business have been invaluable in representing the concerns of his constituents.