Click on the slide!

James Gray MP

James with the Prime Minister visiting the UK Aid Disaster Response Centre at Kemble Airport

Click on the slide!

James Gray MP

James visiting RAF Brize Norton and inspecting the A400M.

Click on the slide!

James Gray MP

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

Click on the slide!

James Gray MP

James at The Springfields Academy

Frontpage Slideshow (version 2.0.0) - Copyright © 2006-2008 by JoomlaWorks

Who takes Britain to War?

Who-Takes-Britain-to-War-book-coverWho-Takes-Britain-to-War-flier

2013-08-08-planning

To most normal people for most of the time, Planning is a pretty dry subject. But then when it comes up and hits you, it’s like a knockout blow from a professional boxer. It ought to be designed and executed to give local people the environment and living conditions they want to live in. If we wanted to live in London- or Swindon, or Bristol - we would do just that. The people of North Wilshire want to live in a rural area, in picturesque villages and pleasant market towns.

Now of course we need houses – especially low-cost housing to rent for local people. Of course we need factories and jobs and improved infrastructure. And most people who live in this area actually live in houses built in the last 50 years or so. So we must not be NIMBY, far less BANANA. (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody.) But we are perfectly entitled to fight to keep the area as we like it.

The people of East Tytherton and Bremhill, Langley Burrell and Kington Langley, for example, are fighting a doughty battle to prevent Chippenham spilling over to engulf their villages and countryside. It is hard to imagine why the Planning Inspector concluded that we need 2500 houses more than were previously planned, and I hope he can find somewhere else to put them rather than virgin green-belt surrounding Chippenham.

Even more illogical is the current talk of allowing a huge retail and distribution centre called The Range to the West of the Chippenham by-pass. Surely if there is any natural boundary to the town, it ought to be the soon-to-be dualled bypass. What possible reason could there be for this unwanted, and hideously ugly development in the countryside. “As a boost to the local economy,” they say, “and to provide 1000 new jobs.” Actually, it’s so that this London-based developer can make loads of money out of desecrating our countryside. In July, there were 582 unemployed people in the whole of the North Wiltshire constituency. That is 1.3% of the working population, the 564th lowest of the 650 constituencies in the UK.

An even dafter argument is now beginning to emerge. Because we have to have all these unwanted houses, some people are saying, we had better allow unwanted development in the countryside to give them all jobs. That, of course ignores the fact that very few of the purchasers of the £250,000 plus houses proposed for Chippenham will actually want to work in the Range Retail distribution centre. That argument is a self-licking lollipop if ever there was one.

And why is that despite explicit central government direction that solar farms should NOT now be on agricultural land some planners at Wiltshire Council seem gleefully intent on allowing them? We simply don’t need these eyesores in our countryside on some imagined and gimmicky green-energy kick. We can get all the green energy need from nuclear without ruining our countryside in this way.

So let’s wake up. Houses, factories, solar farms. Once built they will never go away again. We don’t need them here. We like the place pretty much just like it is.

2014-08-14-pm-kemble

Parliament is deep in its Summer Recess, and domestic politics is very much taking second place to world events. I was glad to welcome the Prime Minister down to Kemble Airfield last Thursday. He helicoptered in and then back to London in time to chair a meeting of the Cobra Committee at 12 to discuss the situation in Iraq. (‘Cobra’ sounds dramatic with images of snakes ready to strike and so on. It is the Whitehall bunker in which Minsters and officials meet in time of National or International crisis. However it actually stands for the much more mundane ‘Cabinet Office Briefing Room A.’ Very British in its understatement.)

Mr Cameron came to Wiltshire to see the UKAid Emergency Supplies Depot. It’s in a former hangar on the old RAF base and keeps at instant readiness non-food stores and equipment for emergencies. Vehicles, tents and tarpaulins, re-usable filtration containers filled with clean water, solar lights and so many other stores of an essential life-saving kind. The stores are deployed anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice – in this case by air-drop from Hercules aircraft over Mount Sinjar. It was good to meet the people responsible – many of them constituents – and to thank them for the vital work which they do.

2014-08-21-bertie-and-kittyThe UK has spent £8 million on the effort- £2 million on emergency supplies, £3 million for DFID’s Rapid Response Facility, £2.5 million for the International Red Cross and £500k to help Kurdish and UN aid efforts in the region. On top of that we gave £5 million to the UN and NGOs to provide food, medicine and shelter. Add to that charitable giving epitomised by my step-children, Bertie and Kitty, who cycled 3000 miles from Toulon to Istanbul to raise funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee, and as a nation we can be proud of our generosity to the Yazidis and Christians being targeted by the evil fanatics of ISIL.

It is only right and proper that we do what we can to help in situations like this one. Yet by very definition they are unexpected and unquantifiable in advance. That is why I strongly support the UK overseas aid efforts. Yet I will not be supporting the attempts by a LibDem backbencher to write the UN target of 0.7% of GDP on overseas aid into law. I have two reasons. First, we should be ready to spend whatever is necessary whether that be more, or in some years perhaps less than that figure. What would happen if at the end of a year it had not been spent? Who would pay a penalty for breaking the law in that way? And second, these must be decisions for Ministers who must weigh up the competing demands of health and education at home, defence and diplomacy overseas. Tying their hands by writing the 0.7% figure into law seems to me both foolish, and also unconstitutional. There is a cloying self-righteousness about the proposed private members bill, as if it says more about the MP proposing it than it does about our Global compassion.

We must do what we can to help in the world, insofar as our economy allows us, and in response to urgent and identifiable need. I am proud of the contribution which North Wiltshire makes to that effort.

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...

More news

14 August 2014, 15.56
James Gray welcomes the Prime Minister to the UK Aid depot at Kemble
“I was delighted that the Prime Minister came down to North Wiltshire this morning to see the fantastic work which the DFID UK Aid base are doing in supplying vital humanitarian relief in Iraq,” said North Wiltshire MP James Gray after visiting the UK Aid Disaster Response Centre at Kemble Airport this morning. “Many local people work on the former RAF base, and I am immensely proud that my constituents are making this vital contribution to...
14 August 2014, 14.28
Retired Wiltshire Lieutenant Colonel who raises millions for Cadets and Reservists is awarded by Prime Minister
An unsung hero from Malmesbury who founded a charity that gives expedition grants to thousands of Cadets and Reservists is the winner of a new volunteering award, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced. The Ulysses Trust, founded by retired Lieutenant Colonel Philip Neame, has fundraised to provided £2 million of grants and supported more than 20,000 Cadets and Reservists to undertake over 1,800 expeditions across the globe. In recognition o...
14 August 2014, 08.30
War and Peace
I’m just back from a fascinating - if rather gritty - walking and climbing expedition with my friend and Box constituent David Hempleman-Adams in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. We were private guests of a mutual friend in this, one of the remotest places on the globe, just where Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China meet. Refreshing and invigorating, if not exactly most people’s idea of a holiday. Yet even here, the talk amongst the guides...
07 August 2014, 09.05
Who takes Britain to War?
It’s less than a year since Parliament decided not to use military force against Syria. I still think that was the right decision, since no-one could really contemplate the consequences had we done so. Yet I have grave misgivings about the way in which that decision was reached. For, surprising as you might think it, 29th August 2013 was only the second occasion on which Parliament had voted on war. (The first time - in 2003- we voted to go to ...

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

North Wiltshire Constituency


View North Wiltshire Constituency in a larger map

Who-Takes-Britain-to-War-amazon

wiltshire_flag

mp-web-awards-finalist

Contact James


House of Commons Logo

Write:
James Gray MP
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

Telephone:
0207 219 6237

Fax:

0207 219 1163

Email:
jamesgraymp@parliament.uk

You can also submit your enquiry online - click here.
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Please provide your full name, address and a contact telephone number.

James's newsletter

Please use the form below to subscribe to James's regular circular emails.


Receive HTML?

Useful links

nhs wiltshire ccg

wiltshire-council

cab

gov-uk

parliamentuk

number10

woottonbassett calne cricklade malmesbury