James Gray is the (Conservative) MP for North Wiltshire. Much of this book reflects aspects of his 21 years in Parliament- as a backbencher, defence and foreign affairs specialist, and fulfilling a variety of front bench jobs while the Tories were in Opposition. He was a Whip, Shadow Defence Minister (resigned over Iraq); Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, and (very briefly) Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland. A member of Mr Speaker’s Panel of Chairmen, James has a deep interest in Parliament and the Constitution. He has chaired the Parliamentary Group for the Polar Regions for some years. A Scot by birth and upbringing, James fought Ross Cromarty and Skye in the 1992 election, lost, and after a period as Special Adviser to Michael Howard and John Gummer, the successive Secretaries of State for the Environment, he was elected for North Wiltshire in 1997.
Educated in Glasgow (High School and University) and Christ Church, Oxford, James had a 15 year career in shipping and the City of London before Parliament. (He remains an honorary member of the Baltic Exchange and a Younger Brother of Trinity House). He served for seven years in the Honourable Artillery Company, and later on its Court of Assistants, and in Parliament is Chairman of the All Party Group for the Armed Forces and the Armed Forces Parliamentary Trust. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies, a Visiting Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford, he served until recently on the House of Commons Defence Committee, and chaired its sub-committee on Defence in the Arctic, and is Patron of a charity which sends boxes to our troops who are overseas at Christmas time.
He has published several books: three on shipping and the futures markets (one of which won a Lloyds of London Book Prize); Crown vs Parliament: Who Takes Britain to War? (which won an RCDS prize); and more recently Poles Apart (2014) and Who Takes Britain to War? (2015). James and his wife, Philippa, live near Bath.