An Act of Remembrance was held on Monday in Westminster Hall to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War and remember the Parliamentarians and House staff who sadly lost their lives. It was well attended by Members of both Houses as well as by staff and passers-by. Three wreaths were laid by the Speaker, Lord Speaker, and James Gray in his capacity of Chair of the APPG for Armed Forces. Following an injury sustained last week, Mr Gray arrived on crutches and stated:

“It is extremely important that, as a country, we take time each November to remember those who fought during the World Wars. We must not forget the sacrifice that these soldiers made, and I am extremely proud to have taken part in the Act of Remembrance in Westminster Hall today.”

James Gray MP has today pledged support for the Long Live The Local Campaign to help pubs in North Wiltshire keep their doors open. James Gray joins the more than 100,000 people who have signed the petition so far, including 194 in North Wiltshire.

James Gray MP is calling on the Government to cut beer tax at the Budget. With £1 in every £3 spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers now pay 40% of all beer tax across the EU, but drink only 12% of the beer. Brewing and pubs in North Wiltshire supports 1284 jobs and contributes £29.6m to the local economy.

Commenting on the campaign, James Gray MP said:

“Pubs are at the heart of communities across North Wiltshire, but with three British pubs closing their doors for good every day the Government should consider a cut to beer tax. I’m supporting the Long Live The Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax at this year’s Budget to support pubs in our local communities.”

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“Beer duty has increased by 60% over the last 17 years and now the UK has one of the highest rates of tax in Europe. When over two thirds of all alcoholic drinks purchased in the pub are beers, a cut in beer tax would go a long way to protecting pubs across North Wiltshire. We are very grateful to James Gray for supporting the Long Live The Local campaign, and hope that the Government listens to MPs across Parliament and the tens of thousands of people across the country who are calling for a cut in beer tax to protect our pubs.”

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.”

“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.

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.”