A strong experienced voice for North Wiltshire
I offer long-standing experience and a track record as a successful, hard-working and caring representative of North Wiltshire in Parliament.
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Thursday 25 November 2021 Weekly Column

When I was bold enough to admit in a Column a couple of weeks back that, while I do not necessarily support what he did, I stood by Owen Paterson as an old friend, my admission was greeted by shrieks of condemnation by a few tooth-suckingly self-righteous, holier-than-thou correspondents. They would rather jump on the passing bandwagon of disapproval and condemn Owen as if he were a mass murderer than give him the safeguards of natural law. It is my experience that friendship is more important than self-righteousness.

I was honoured yesterday to welcome 150 of the soldiers, airmen and civil servants who carried out the brilliant evacuation of Afghanistan known as Op Pitting. Led by the Band of the RAF they marched through the Carriage Gates of Parliament to be met at the Great North Door of Westminster Hall, (through which the Duke of Wellington passed on his return from the Battle of Waterloo) by the Prime Minister, Speakers of the Houses of Commons and Lords, First Sea Lord and perhaps a thousand Parliamentarians from both Houses and staff from every corner of the Palace. It was a truly great celebration – a welcome home and thank you - to those who carried out one of the bravest and most difficult of military operations; and who did so with fantastic professionalism, efficiency, and above all camaraderie. Soldiers do what they do for their Queen and Country, for the officers who order them to do it, but above all for their comrades in arms. Their mates. That is why the British Regimental system works so well.

The human instinct to side with your comrades at arms is also responsible for the Party system in Parliament. The easiest truism in the world comes from those who decry the Party and the whips, since MPs “should put their country and constituents before all else”. Of course we do. Yet of the 32373, or just short of 60% of the people of North Wiltshire who voted for me in the last election, giving me a massive majority over both Labour and the Lib Dems, I am realistic enough to recognise that relatively few voted for me personally; most simply wanted a Conservative Government. It is therefore my duty to do what I can to deliver the principles and policies of the Conservative Party to them. Only some overwhelming constituency interest, or some issue of personal conscience would normally allow or encourage me to deviate from what the rest of my party are doing. Those MPs who habitually rebel on almost everything are arrogantly presuming that their own views are more important than the views of the people who elected them in the first place.

Human beings are herd animals, birds of a feather who flock together. We are most comfortable with those who are similar to us - from the same country, school or college, Church or social group, our family and friends; those who hold similar political, religious or social opinions to ourselves. That is a natural human instinct; and it provides the very sinews from which a happy society is born. Friends and family are more important than almost anything else.

Those whose best friends are their fellow human beings will sleep easy in their beds at night. He whose best friend is himself will have only his best friend to blame for his aching loneliness.

Friday 19 November 2021 Weekly Column

Like most men, my multi-tasking skills are a bit limited. I do manage to keep a fair number of balls in the air: Parliamentary and constituency, military and Polar interests; writing; home life. I have no paid outside interests bar a few fees for speaking, completing Ipsos Mori questionnaires and similar minutiae (all declared in the Register of Members’ Interests). And I do maintain a reasonable number of unpaid interests- Trinity House, the Honourable Artillery Company, Royal Geographical

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Friday 12 November 2021 Weekly Column

In the turmoil of the last couple of weeks we could all take a lesson from Her Majesty the Queen for whom ‘Duty’ has been a guiding light through all the years of her reign. As Wordsworth has it “Duty, the stern daughter of the Voice of God….” Those of us who choose to be in public life; but also all who provide a public service - in the NHS, as a clergyman, teacher, public sector worker of any kind -may well do our job it because we happen to enjoy it, get a degree of personal satisfaction

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Thursday 4 November 2021 Weekly Column

There’s something eerie – spooky - unsettling about this time of the year between Halloween and Remembrance Sunday. Halloween of course is associated with witchcraft, ghosts and ghoulies; followed by All Saints Day and All Souls Day when we remember our dead. The clocks change and the days get shorter; leaves fall from the trees; the harvest is over (largely) and the nights are drawing in. I have always felt that the Equinox also heralds all kinds of momentous - or tragic - events. There

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Tuesday 2 November 2021 Latest News

North Wiltshire MP, James Gray, joined colleagues from across the House today to call for the banning of plastic in wet wipes. The Ten-Minute Rule Bill, for which Mr Gray is a co-sponsor, was presented by Fleur Anderson MP this afternoon.

The Bill aims to encourage people to move towards reusable alternatives rather than flushing plastic-filled wipes after one use. Wet wipes are behind 93% of blockages in UK sewers and the Thames Water area alone has on average 85,000 blockages a

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My latest book 'Wiltshire to Westminster' is now available here.

My latest book 'Full English Brexit' is now available online at jamesgray.org/full-english-brexit

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james@jamesgray.org
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01249 446209
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