Full disclosure: I know Grant Shapps and have done for years. I have been to his house. He was a good Conservative Party Chairman and is a competent campaigner. He is a great local MP. Becoming leader of the Conservative Party, however, is a big ask. Like Margaret Thatcher before him, Grant has struck first. Unfortunately, so far that is all that he has going for him. Shapps has the potential to be Party leader but he needs to seriously raise his game, setting out a clear vision for country and party.
The question at the top of this article is not rhetorical. The 2015 General Election was an unexpected victory for the Conservatives and Grant Shapps was one of the main drivers. He deserved to be rewarded, but instead he was sacked from the cabinet due to vicious and untrue allegations made against him by a Wikipedia administrator, Richard Symonds. A ruling of the Wikipedia Arbitration committee later exonerated Shapps and humiliated the Guardian newspaper.
Those who claim Shapps had nothing to do with the victory are being nonsensical – they would have been quick to blame him if the election was lost. Shapps’ successors as Conservative campaign organisers had a far better hand to play in the 2017 election – starting far further ahead in the polls. They squandered it.