The Liberal Democrats moved last night to distance themselves from an increasingly complicated story involving Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps and the editable online encyclopaedia Wikipedia.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Wikipedia blocked a user account “Contribsx” on suspicion the account was being used by Shapps or someone close to the party chairman to repeatedly edit his own page and the pages of other politicians.
Shapps denied the accusations, calling them “categorically false and defamatory.” The party chairman also suggested to the Guardian newspaper the claims against him were crafted by the Labour Party.
But it was the Liberal Democrats who ended up in hot water over the case yesterday, when it was revealed that the Wikipedia volunteer administrator who made the accusations identified with the Lib Dems.
On his since-deleted Twitter profile, Londoner Richard Symonds said he was a “Liberal Democrat (to the last).”
The Lib Dems’ central office denied any involvement with Symonds.
“He has no connection with HQ whatsoever,” a party spokesperson told City A.M.
“We had no idea about the Guardian story,” he added. “I mean, I have no idea who this bloke is.”
The comments struck a new tone for the Lib Dems, who on Tuesday publicly mocked Shapps with a joke press release from the party’s former leader, Lord Paddy Ashdown