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James Gray MP

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Who takes Britain to War?

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2014-10-06-StDunstansPrimarySchoolNorth Wiltshire MP James Gray visited St Dunstan CE VC Primary School in Calne on Friday 3rd October to talk with Year 6 pupils about Parliament and politics.

Speaking from Westminster this morning, Mr Gray said:

“I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet Year 6 pupils and their teachers at St Dunstan’s and to hear what they had to say about the state of the nation and the world and what we politicians can do to alleviate some of the grave problems facing us at the present time.”

“I was so impressed with the children’s interest in and knowledge of politics. I learned a lot from them, and it is wonderful to see young people taking such an interest in the world around them and engaging with some of the issues that we MPs debate in the House of Commons on a weekly basis. I was also hugely impressed by the atmosphere and the hard work and dedication of the staff.”

I was delighted to receive some very well written thank you letters from Year 6 pupils.

Here are some excerpts from some of the letters:

"I am amazed how tall you are. You made me watch the news more and I now want to come to the Houses of Parliament."

"I am writing to tell you the things that I found interesting. Firstly, you are very intelligent. I thought that you would be a person in a costume because in year five someone was dressed up as a pirate and not real."

"I was delighted to meet you, thank you for coming in to meet us. Although, you were much more interesting than I thought you would be. You answered all of our questions with lots of detail therefore I understood every word."

“I really enjoyed you coming to our school to ask questions to you. Thank you for hand shaking me when I said you don’t look fifty-nine years of age.”

“Your answers were a great help to all of us. This was a great lifetime opportunity for me because it’s nice to meet someone really important personally.”

“Thank you for coming into our class and giving up your time to answer our questions. You’re so brilliant, clever and funny. I thought you were dressed very smart and tidy.”

“I found out loads of new facts about the House of Commons, Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben. I think you are really intelligent. You gave us specific answers for each question and I like you because you know a lot.”

“I liked the afternoon because I found you interesting, In addition, I liked your story about when you got lost (I would have felt embarrassed). I am very grateful for you to invite us to the Palace of Westminster.”

chamberWhich of the following is most important to you: Ebola, ISIS, or UKIP? Does it matter more that some experts predict a worldwide epidemic claiming perhaps 1 million lives, that at this moment innocent women and children are being murdered in their thousands because of their ethnicity or beliefs; or that a maverick Tory MP won a by-election in Clacton?

I think I know what your answer would be. It is right that we have sent 750 military personnel to West Africa, including a Royal Naval ship and helicopters to fight what could so easily become a global catastrophe; and it is right that we have sent warplanes to help protect the innocent and prevent genocide in Iraq. Yet historians in years to come will wonder that those two great and grave matters; together with others such as the warnings from the International Monetary Fund that the EU economy may be stalling, were forced off our front pages by a by-election?

So it is only right that we consider very carefully the messages which the electorate sent us in Clacton, Heywood and Middleton and elsewhere. The fact is that voters are not happy. They are worried above all about ‘immigration’ (although probably slightly unclear about exactly what they mean by it); they are unhappy about the EU’s interference in our everyday lives; they are concerned about crime and the general erosion of our traditional values and way of life. Those and so many other less-defined annoyances and concerns merge in a by-election to ‘giving the traditional parties a good kicking.’

The Conservatives in particular must listen very carefully to that message and seek to redefine their central core message and beliefs. The Labour Party are in just as much a difficulty, especially in the aftermath of the Scottish Referendum and the collapse of their support north of the border. And our poor old partners in coalition, the Lib Dems, are just such a hopeless case as to be in need of terminal care. All three traditional parties must wake up to the message from Clacton and re-think their approach to their electorate.

However there is one message which has been too often parroted on our screens over the last few days with which I fundamentally disagree. And that is that the Clacton result demonstrates a generalised dissatisfaction with our political systems and with Westminster in general. There is absolutely no evidence that that is the case. My own experience locally - in my regular school visits, in talks with businesses and public bodies, in my surgeries, in meetings with constituents of all kinds, and at the excellent Any Questions broadcast last Friday from John Bentley School in Calne - is that people feel just as strongly about politics today as ever they did. It’s just that their party political allegiances may be more fickle than they traditionally were. People are much more concerned about individual issues than about the generality of party politics.

It’s not the by-election which matters. It’s the messages which lie behind that maverick result. And we traditional politicians from thee parties must now listen very carefully to them.

Latest from the Chamber

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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Food Adulteration - 07/03/2013
Mr James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Conservative): Cross-contamination by horsemeat in every part of the United Kingdom could be stopped if we prevented the killing of horses in multi-species abattoirs. ...
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09 October 2014, 06.00
Educational Diversity in Calne
One of the things I like best about North Wiltshire is its very diversity. Cricklade and Malmesbury, Luckington and Yatesbury; Royal Wootton Bassett and Marston Meysey; Box and Lydiard Millicent. Diversity and geographic spread, yet so much in common as well. We all want to live in more-or-less preserved Wiltshire market towns, surrounded by countryside and villages; with a distinct military flavour; a bit West country (NOT South West); dairy farm...
06 October 2014, 21.01
James Gray MP visits St Dunstan’s Primary School
North Wiltshire MP James Gray visited St Dunstan CE VC Primary School in Calne on Friday to talk with Year 6 pupils about Parliament and politics. Speaking from Wiltshire this evening, Mr Gray said:  “I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet Year 6 pupils and their teachers at St Dunstan’s and to hear what they had to say about the state of the nation and the world and what we politicians can do to alleviate some of the grave pro...
02 October 2014, 07.30
Exciting times indeed
What a week it’s been. The aftermath of the Scottish referendum rumbles on, with the focus firmly on the English Question. I for one will not support any further devolution to Scotland unless and until the rights and interests of my English constituents are safeguarded. That can only be done by removing the ability of Scottish MPs to vote on English matters, including the Budget and the Queen’s Speech. Labour of course will never agree to that...
25 September 2014, 10.47
Statesmanship and leadership, not populism
There can be no doubt that the heart-wrenching scenes emerging from Iraq and Syria demand urgent western action. How can we stand by as children are beheaded by ISIL because they refuse to renounce Jesus? What civilised nation would not act - and act with urgency - to stop this humanitarian catastrophe? Yet we in Britain risk being left behind. America and France are engaged in military action in Iraq. They are at this moment saving civilians’ ...

Constituency Surgeries

Meet your local MP in person at one of his local surgeries. No appointment is necessary - just turn up.

Saturday
6
th September
10am-11:30am Jenner Hall, Bath Road, Cricklade, SN6 6AT
12pm-1pm Hobbes Parlour, Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ
 
Saturday
20
th September
10:00am-11:30am Corn Exchange, Town Hall, The Strand, Calne, SN11 0EN
12noon-1pm Civic Centre, Station Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 7DZ
 
Saturday
4
th October
10am-11:30am Jenner Hall, Bath Road, Cricklade, SN6 6AT
12pm-1pm Hobbes Parlour, Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ
 
Saturday
18
th October
10:00am-11:30am Corn Exchange, Town Hall, The Strand, Calne, SN11 0EN
12noon-1pm Civic Centre, Station Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 7DZ
 
Saturday
15
th November
10am-11:30am Jenner Hall, Bath Road, Cricklade, SN6 6AT
12pm-1pm Hobbes Parlour, Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ
 
Saturday
29
th November
10:00am-11:30am Corn Exchange, Town Hall, The Strand, Calne, SN11 0EN
12noon-1pm Civic Centre, Station Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 7DZ
 
Saturday
6
th December
10am-11:30am Jenner Hall, Bath Road, Cricklade, SN6 6AT
12pm-1pm Hobbes Parlour, Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ
 
Saturday
10
th January
10:00am-11:30am Corn Exchange, Town Hall, The Strand, Calne, SN11 0EN
12noon-1pm Civic Centre, Station Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 7DZ
 
Saturday
17
th January
10am-11:30am Jenner Hall, Bath Road, Cricklade, SN6 6AT
12pm-1pm Hobbes Parlour, Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ
 
Saturday
7
th February
10:00am-11:30am Corn Exchange, Town Hall, The Strand, Calne, SN11 0EN
12noon-1pm Civic Centre, Station Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 7DZ
 
Saturday
21
st February
10am-11:30am Jenner Hall, Bath Road, Cricklade, SN6 6AT
12pm-1pm Hobbes Parlour, Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ
 
Saturday
14
th March
10:00am-11:30am Corn Exchange, Town Hall, The Strand, Calne, SN11 0EN
12noon-1pm Civic Centre, Station Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 7DZ
 
Saturday
21
st March
10am-11:30am Jenner Hall, Bath Road, Cricklade, SN6 6AT
12pm-1pm Hobbes Parlour, Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ

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