A few good friends suggested that they would like to have a collection of my Columns over the years since 1997.  So I have put together a (heavily edited) collection and had them printed. Volume 1 covers 'Blair, Brown and Cameron’ (BBC1), and Volume 2 covers 'Boris Brexit and Covid’ (BBC2). If you would like a copy, perhaps as a stocking filler, drop me an email with your name and address, transfer some funds, or send me a cheque, and I will do my very bet to get them to you in good time for Christmas. It's £6 each or £10 for the two. That does little more than cover the costs, but if there is any profit from it then it will go to charity. Something to dip into over Christmas. 69596 James Gray A5 Flyer

Wiltshire and Swindon’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, and Inspector Doug Downing welcomed North Wiltshire MP James Gray to the new Community Policing Team hub in Royal Wootton Bassett on Friday. The revamped station was opened officially in July and James came to visit the new site and tour the facilities. 

Angus Macpherson said that: “We are very pleased with this development as part of the delivery of my Estate Strategy. Also, this week, we announced that work was commencing at a new hub for Warminster.  Plans for a new police facility in Tidworth are well in hand too.”

James Gray MP enjoyed the visit, commenting that:

“I was glad to be able to visit the new Policing Team hub and get a tour of the wonderful new facilities. It was great to see the work they have been doing and I am sure it will be a great addition to our community.”

Yesterday James Gray MP met with the Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP, to discuss the return of MoD residential properties in Wiltshire to Annington Homes Limited, and the associated notices to quit.

Mr Gray stated:

“I had an extremely productive meeting with the Minister for Defence Procurement yesterday and am delighted that the notice period for tenants has now been extended to 12 months.

I discussed Wiltshire Council’s constructive proposals with the Minister and hope to engage further on this matter over the coming weeks.”

Wiltshire’s vulnerable children will benefit from free meals during October half-term after Wiltshire Council agreed to ensure families struggling with food poverty in the county are supported.

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, said: “We know that many families are feeling the financial pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to do all we can to support them.

“We want to ensure that children do not go hungry during these school holidays and want to ensure that Wiltshire families know that they will be supported during these difficult times by putting these measures in place. Therefore the council will be funding free meals during the October half term. This will be reviewed throughout the pandemic and we will continue to make sure that any child and family who needs help gets it. As we have done throughout, we will continue to work with our partners in the community and voluntary sector to make sure the needs of our residents are met at this unprecedented time. The work of our community groups has been, and continues to be, amazing and I must thank them for their tremendous support throughout the pandemic.

If you are entitled to free school meals or universal credit and struggling to pay for food over half term, please contact the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub for support.”

James Gray MP welcomed the support, commenting:

“We are all facing tough times; and we must all do our bit to stop the virus and support those who need it most. The coronavirus outbreak has made the importance of good nutrition for children even clearer and I welcome the support offered by the Council to ensure that children do not go hungry during the October half term. I did not vote for the amendment in Parliament last week as I am hopeful that the Government will find an alternative solution through the benefits system rather than the educational one. I believe this is a great example of this work. Schools have enough on their plates as it is without adding this extra burden, and I know we need to look at other ways to tackle child poverty, including support through local councils.”

This weekend, James Gray MP took part in a virtual discussion at the Conservative Party Conference to discuss “The Falkland Islands in a Global Britain – respond to the challenges and taking advantage of opportunities,” examining the importance of the Falkland Islands to the UK.

As the UK reassesses its place in the world it is vital that the contribution of the Falklands is considered. Whether it is providing a South Atlantic base for the UK’s Armed Forces, playing a major role in helping the UK tackle climate change, or being the home to a high proportion of the UK’s biodiversity, the event stressed how the Falklands should be seen as an significant asset to Global Britain.

As the Chair of the Polar Regions APPG, a member of the Falkland Islands APPG and as someone who has visited the Falklands and the wider region, Mr Gray was very pleased to be able to join the panel and share his views.

In his speech, Mr Gray made the important point that the Integrated Review should not just stick to 2% of GDP for defence expenditure, since GDP is likely to fall, but that we should maintain current levels of spending. He also highlighted the importance of focusing on Antarctica, as well as the Arctic, as areas of vital strategic importance and as centres for science and peace.