“As Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces, I was delighted to welcome 120 soldiers representing both Regular and Reserve contributions to operations across the world to Parliament last Wednesday. Every single serviceman and woman demonstrated the work done by the British Army to protect our nation,” said North Wiltshire MP James Gray.

“The soldiers marched in to Parliament from Wellington Barracks through Carriage Gates, accompanied by the Band of the Grenadier Guards, halting at the North Door of Westminster Hall, where I, the Prime Minister, members of the All-Party Group, MPs and Peers of all Parties, the Sergeant at Arms, the Black Rod and staff of both Houses welcomed them and applauded their efforts on our behalf. I was pleased to say a few words of welcome along with the Prime Minister and to thank them for their service.”

Major General Rupert Jones, Director Engagement and Communication, who is shortly to take up the appointment of Standing Joint Force Commander said: “I am grateful to James Gray MP and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces for inviting the soldiers to march into Parliament and for hosting a special reception for us on the Terrace of the Palace of Westminster.“

“The British Army is deployed across the globe every day to protect the nation. Last Wednesday was a great opportunity to thank our highly skilled and professional soldiers for their selfless commitment.”

“After a group photo on the steps of Westminster Hall, we then proceeded to the Terrace of the House of Commons for a reception, where the soldiers were able to meet members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces and other Parliamentarians. They were then given guided tours of both Houses of Parliament,” added Mr Gray.

James Gray MP trying out the virtual reality auto-paint spraying machine

North Wiltshire MP, James Gray, accepted an invitation from his constituent, who is the Chairman of the S & B Automotive Academy in Bristol, to visit their excellent apprenticeship training headquarters on Friday.

Mr Gray said:

“I very much admired and appreciated the exceptionally good facilities which S & B Automotive Academy provide for a very large number of automotive apprenticeships every year. I enjoyed trying out the virtual reality auto-paint spraying machine, although suspect that I probably landed up paint-spraying the ceiling as well as the vehicle door, which I was supposed to be painting green.

“Apprenticeships are an incredibly important part of training our young people, especially in an area like this, and the S & B Automotive Academy make an outstanding contribution in the automotive apprenticeship world.”

North Wiltshire MP James Gray spoke in the House of Commons yesterday during the debate on the Salisbury Incident. Representing all seven Members of Parliament for Wiltshire and Swindon, Mr Gray payed tribute to all those involved in the aftermath of the attack, saying:

“The first thing I think we should do, and it has been done by most speakers throughout the past couple of weeks, is pay enormous tribute to the emergency services in Wiltshire, in particular the ambulance service, the Odstock Hospital workers and the police, who did such a superb job both on the occasion itself—on the two occasions, I should say—and in the aftermath…I also pay tribute to the Army and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. They made a huge contribution in the aftermath of the event. I also pay tribute to Wiltshire Council. ​My noble Friend, Baroness Scott of Bybrook, has been very strong in the support she has given the people of Salisbury and the rest of the county in the aftermath of the event.”

Mr Gray went on to highlight the effects of the Novichok poisonings on the people of Salisbury,

“It would be wrong to exaggerate the effect that these incidents have had on the people of Salisbury, Amesbury and the surrounding district. They were, of course, appalling incidents and there was a real feeling at the time of concern that the effect might be wider than it turned out to be. As a result, there has been some downturn in tourism and commerce in Salisbury—some 12.9%, I am informed—but it is recovering rapidly. The people of Salisbury are resilient in every way. The businesses I have spoken to realise that they must offer something for the people who come in from the surrounding area, and they are already doing that to a significant degree. I do not think that we should talk Salisbury down….. The people of Salisbury are well able to handle this. Now that it has been made plain that there is no risk of any kind at all to pedestrians or passers-by in the city of Salisbury or elsewhere, I think that people will return rapidly.”

The MP for North Wiltshire concluded by reinforcing view that the argument was not with the people of Russia, stating:

“It is very important that we maintain our talks and connections with the ordinary people of Russia. They are not our enemy; Mr Putin and his regime are our enemy.”

North Wiltshire MP James Gray attended a small service at Luckington church yesterday to rededicate two graves of those who had given military service. Mr Gray read from the Gospel of St John and said afterwards:

“Self-sacrifice for the greater good of the greater number is the spirit which permeates our armed services, where huge discomfort, and of course great risk to life and limb, are accepted for the greater good of the soldier’s mates and unit, and ultimately for the greater good of Queen and Country.”

North Wiltshire MP James Gray has backed British farming at Back British Farming Day in Westminster, recognising the crucial role farmers play in producing food and caring for the countryside.

Farming is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing sector – food and drink – which contributes over £110 billion to the economy and employs 3.8 million people.

Speaking in Westminster, Mr Gray said: “I am immensely proud to wear the Back British Farming pin badge in support of a sector that is so valuable to the country. Our farmers play a unique role in securing a plentiful supply of fabulous British food, looking after our iconic countryside and sustaining a dynamic rural economy.”

“The decisions made in Parliament over the coming months are critical to the future of British food production. As one of the sectors that will be most affected by Britain’s departure from the EU, it is important that we politicians create the right regulatory environment to ensure our farmers can continue to provide safe and affordable food for the nation.”

“Food production is a vital part of everyday life and impacts on us all. I would encourage all MPs and members of the pubic to get behind this important campaign and Back British Farming.”