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James Gray MP

James Gray MP welcoming representatives of 20th Armoured Brigade to Parliament

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James visiting RAF Brize Norton and inspecting the A400M.

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James Gray MP with representatives from Google and The Countryside Alliance Foundation

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James Gray MP

James at The Springfields Academy

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2014-04-10-network-rail“I was pleased to host an extremely constructive meeting with Network Rail’s directors in my Westminster office yesterday to discuss their £1 billion project to electrify the Great Western line,” said North Wiltshire MP James Gray this morning. “In particular, I wanted to raise the multiple road and bridge closures that have resulted from the works, which are causing difficulty and disruption for my constituents.”

“Network Rail acknowledged many of the challenges including disruption to lives and businesses and the risk of isolating communities,” Mr Gray continued. "During the meeting, I was pleased that Network Rail offered Wiltshire Council a dedicated community liaison officer at the Council’s offices in Trowbridge to improve communication between Network Rail, Wiltshire Council, parish and town councils and residents affected by the modernisation programme. It is so important that all local stakeholders work closely together to ensure that the disruption to local life is kept to an acceptable level. I was pleased that Cllr Toby Sturgis was able to attend representing Wiltshire Council and that, following the meeting, arrangements were made for senior staff from Network Rail to attend the Town Council in Royal Wootton Bassett to bring them up to date on plans to close road bridges in the town and on other matters.”

“I remain supportive of the electrification project which will deliver more reliable and more comfortable journeys for passengers - as well as contributing to our green targets,” said Mr Gray. “At the same time, electrifying the Great Western line will result in decreased levels of noise for those living near the railway. That will not be achieved without some cost and disruption, which must be controlled. I will plan a series of similar meetings with Network Rail every three months or so to monitor the works.”

2014-04-10-cleggfarageDid you see either of the two Nigel vs Nick Shows? Hardly a magnificent fight to the death between two gladiators, I fear. I felt there was something rather sad about Mr Farage's obvious delight at national coverage of this sort, and at last being taken (semi-) seriously; and something even sadder about Mr Clegg's desperate clinging to the dim memory of his life's great triumph - outshining Messrs Brown and Cameron during the TV debates four years ago. How he must long for those glory days!

The reality is that Mr Clegg was trying to persuade the British people of something of which virtually none are persuadable - that ever closer Union with Europe is somehow or another a good idea. In my thirty or so years of knocking on doors, I have never met a single person who thought that, which perhaps explains the likelihood of annihilation of the LibDems at next month's Euro-elections if current polling is anything to go by.

Mr Farage was tapping in to a much more promising seam of British public opinion. The people as a whole are instinctively Eurosceptic; and Mr F's laddish charm has a natural appeal. His was the easier hand to play, and he did a good job of it. Yet the tragedy is that even if he won; even if the British people agreed with him; there is no chance whatsoever of him becoming PM. He cannot by any stretch of anyone's imagination deliver on his Eurosceptic promise. So the debate was between no-mates Nick and no-hoper Nigel. Rather unedifying altogether.

I suspect that mainstream British opinion is deeply unhappy with the EU; wants to see a fundamental renegotiation of the terms of our membership of it; and a chance to vote on whether or not to stay in it depending on the outcome of those negotiations. That is precisely what the Conservative Party are offering; and, crucially, we, unlike UKIP, can actually deliver what we promise in this regard. We want to see a free trade area amongst independent Nation States and an end to day-to-day interference by the Brussels Brotherhood.

So it was with some relief that I turned from the rather ersatz Clegg/Farage battle, to the Grand National, the Boat Race, the Five Nations Rugby tournament. These are the kind of truly titanic struggles which we love to witness – the greatest of athletes pitted one against the other in a truly gladiatorial contest.

I waved goodbye to my constituents, Sark and Hempy this week as they set off to Morocco for the famous Marathon des Sables. It's the toughest race in the World – 151 miles over 6 days in the blazing heat of the Sahara. Man against the elements in a very real way. Neither Mr Clegg, nor Mr Farage would be up to anything like that (and nor, I hasten to add, would I!).

Latest from the Chamber

Energy and Climate Change: Energy Efficiency - 27/02/2014
Mr James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Conservative): One of the groups most deserving of benefit, from the warm home scheme in particular, are those who live in park homes, of which we have many in North W...
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. ...
Statement: Army Basing Plan - 05/03/2013
Mr James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Conservative): I very much welcome the extra stability that the announcement will make in the lives of service personnel and their families. The people of Wiltshire wi...

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MP visits Malmesbury Brewery
"I was delighted to visit this successful local micro-brewery, and to sample some of their beers," said North Wiltshire MP James Gray after visiting Malmesbury Brewery, currently based in Royal Wootton Bassett. "I was pleased to hear how widely they are able to sell their bottled and cask beers, spreading the good name of Malmesbury around Southern England and elsewhere, and I particularly liked the names of their beers - Burnivale Hop, King's Wa...
27 March 2014, 10.15
The Budget
Funny things, Budgets. Sometimes they are a disaster (George Osborne’s 2012); sometimes they are widely acclaimed by the public for a few days until the Sunday newspapers unpick them as a sham (most of Gordon Brown’s); occasionally they are completely boring non-events (Alistair Darling – remember him? If you do, you are one of a select few). Last week’s seems to have been that rare event - a truly innovative Budget, and one which is prett...

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