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A strong experienced voice for North Wiltshire
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Thursday 12 July 2018 Weekly Column

What a week it has been. The Chequers agreement is a great deal less than I had hoped for. What we are now proposing for ‘The Deal’ is by no means as clear and robust as the 52% who voted ‘Leave’ expected. I have warned the whips that they cannot rely on my support for it when it comes before the House for ratification in the Autumn. That means that even if M Barnier allows it through unamended (which seems very unlikely, and we will certainly not tolerate any further slippage- for example on the free movement of European citizens) there is little chance that the PM will get it through Parliament. She must therefore think again and come up with a plan which much more closely fulfils the will of the people, and her own promises that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, and that ‘No deal is better than a bad deal.’

Westminster in Turmoil - Cabinet resignations, calls for a Leadership challenge (which I do not support), the Commons and media overheating badly in the record sunshine and 31 degrees; all of that almost pales into insignificance by comparison with other events. The NATO Summit could have consequences for all of our long-term peace and security. If Mr Trump, for example, were to threaten to withdraw US troops from Europe, Mr Putin would be rubbing his hands with glee. Meanwhile, we have the tragic new case of Novichock poisoning in Salisbury, and the sad death of Dawn Sturgess. That makes it a murder case, a foreign national having murdered a British citizen on British territory. That is a crime which cannot come without consequence. We rejoice at the rescue of the Thai boys from their underground prison; and of course, perhaps more than anything else, we rejoice that we have an England team in the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in half a century. (By the time you read this we will know more. Meanwhile, fingers crossed.)

Things are moving so fast in the world and in Westminster, that despite the fact that I am writing this on Tuesday morning, it may be (wholly or partially) out of date by the time you read it on Thursday. As Macmillan remarked, it is ‘events, dear boy, events” which will either hand us good fortune, or, I suppose rob us of it… It’s the unexpected and the random which makes or breaks a government.

Thursday 5 July 2018 Weekly Column

“We honour those who serve” is the proud, yet humble, motto of Royal Wootton Bassett, commemorating the four years during which they turned out on 167 occasions to mark the Repatriation of the bodies of 345 service men and women. That was no comment on politics, nor on the nature or value of the wars. It was quite simply a final tribute to those who took orders and gave their lives as a result.

Armed Forces Day on Saturday across the Nation tried to do the same for those who still

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Tuesday 3 July 2018 Latest News

Last night, James Gray, MP North Wiltshire, welcomed Sir David Attenborough to Parliament to hear an update on Britain’s new polar research ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough.

The meeting was organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Polar Regions, which Mr Gray chairs. The meeting was attended by over 100 guests from across Parliament and the wider UK Polar Community.

Mr Gray said: “It is vital that Parliament gets to see the very best that British

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Thursday 28 June 2018 Weekly Column

It was seventy five years ago – in 1943 in Blitz-torn London – that Martha, the Austin turntable ladder came into service. Around the same time, Squadron Leader Johnny Johnson of the famous 617 (Dambusters) Squadron was the bomb aimer on their daring raids over Germany. It was a privilege to meet Johnny Johnson and hear him speak with clarity and without notes for a good 20 minutes at an RAF 100 lunch at Foxham on Saturday. He wrote out a message for the PM for me, which I will be glad to

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Thursday 21 June 2018 Weekly Column

We voted up to 30 times last week on the Lords Amendments to the Brexit Bill. Some were closer than others. All were stressful. And in a curious way it was physically quite demanding too (not that I am complaining about it.)

The Speaker calls for a vote by shouting “Division.” Bells ring all around the Palace of Westminster, and indeed within pubs and restaurants and private flats within the “Division Bell Area”. MPs then have eight minutes to get into either the ‘Ayes’ or the

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