16 March 2023

Grant Shapps says he will keep using TikTok on personal phone

16 March 2023

Grant Shapps has vowed to keep using TikTok on his personal phone, amid pleas for ministers to exit the platform entirely.

The Energy Secretary posted a clip from the Wolf Of Wall Street in which Leonardo DiCaprio, portraying a New York stockbroker, declares he is “not f****** leaving” and the “show goes on”.

Mr Shapps, who has 14,400 followers, wrote on TikTok: “This morning the Government announced a TikTok ban on Government devices. That’s sensible.

“I’ve never used TikTok on Government devices and can hereby confirm I will NOT be leaving TikTok anytime soon! #politics #news #foryoupage #FYP #trend #wolfofwallstreet #imnotleaving #tiktok.”

The UK Government’s TikTok ban will not extend to personal devices for civil servants, ministers or the general public, according to Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden.

But MPs pressed for the ban to cover such devices in a bid to end the TikTok activities of the “Wolf of Whitehall” and others.

Conservative former minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith told the House of Commons: “Private phones are used for communications and I honestly don’t believe that whatever the complaints are, that the reality is that these private phones will never be used for Government business.

“They will be, they are, and there is no way of stopping that to some degree.

“Can he not now say any Government minister or senior official that has their private phone with TikTok in it should remove it, because that gets rid of the risk that it will have?”

Labour MP Andrew Western (Stretford and Urmston) agreed with Sir Iain, adding the changes “should go further” and include personal devices used by ministers.

He asked Mr Dowden: “Could he tell us if the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero will be leading by example and doing us all a favour and delete his TikTok account?”

Surely a risk is a risk whether it's on a minister's private phone or one provided by the Government

Mr Dowden, laughing, replied: “Perhaps that Secretary of State is more au fait with social media than I am.

“I am totally confident (Mr Shapps) will be adhering to the guidance he will receive as a minister and that sensitive Government documents will be dealt with not on his personal device but on his corporate communications devices.”

Liberal Democrat former minister Alistair Carmichael later joked he thought most MPs supported the TikTok ban in the belief “we would no longer have to endure the sight” of Mr Shapps on “this young person’s app”.

Raising a point of order, he joked he understood Mr Shapps “wishes to be known as the Wolf of Whitehall in the future” given his use of the meme to declare his intention to stay.

Mr Carmichael added: “Surely a risk is a risk whether it’s on a minister’s private phone or one provided by the Government.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Shapps said in a statement: “Grant has never used TikTok on Government devices and believes security measures – like not sharing location permission – are sensible.

“However, he is concerned that representatives of the people who deliberately choose not to engage with the public on the platforms that they actually use are unlikely to continue to represent these voters for long.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox