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Grant Shapps admits using his alter ego in Britain

Grant Shapps, the Conservative co-chairman who was photographed posing as a self-help guru under an alias at a Las Vegas conference, admitted yesterday deploying the same stunt at an event in London.

Mr Shapps likened his decision to adopt the business alias Michael Green for his work as an internet marketing guru to the branding tactics of Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

"We wanted to create a brand name, so – a bit like Colonel Sanders with his chicken – Michael Green was the brand name that we attached," he said in an interview with The Sunday Times.

Mr Shapps came under fire earlier this year after a photo emerged of him wearing a Michael Green name badge while at a $3,000-a-head internet conference in Las Vegas in 2004.

Yesterday Mr Shapps confirmed this was not the only time he posed as his alias: "Michael Green only went out of the house twice, ever, on conferences. Green's other excursion was to a half-day business seminar in London at a similar time."

He also told the paper that the alias meant he could keep his job separate from his views as a prospective Tory MP. "It was really just for the purposes of branding and separation. Lots of authors write under a pen name. It's fairly standard practice"

His company, How To Corp, came up with a series of products including the 20/20 Challenge ebook, which apparently promised customers they would earn enough money to buy a Toyota Prius in 20 days.

He told The Sunday Times: "The 20/20 challenge was really simply taking everything that we learnt over several years of producing products, putting them online and selling them and wrapping it up in a 20-day course."