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James Gray MP

James at The Springfields Academy

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

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James Gray MP

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

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James visiting RAF Brize Norton and inspecting the A400M.

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Who takes Britain to War?

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2014-09-25-dcThere 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’ lives. So why is that we are not doing so as well? The answer seems to be that despite the shambolic Syria vote in Parliament last year, the Prime Minister is apparently determined to secure a Parliamentary vote prior to any action. That of course is delayed because Parliament has broken up for the Party Conference Recess and because there are all sorts of workmen carrying out essential maintenance in the Palace of Westminster.

Hang on a minute. Are we really delaying action to save children’s lives so as not to interrupt Mr Miliband’s gripping rhetoric at the Labour Party Conference, and to accommodate some decorators in the chamber of the House of Commons? Surely not.

The reality is that this populist call for Parliament to vote on every single military action around the world is seriously misjudged. The Prime Minister of course needs the support and backing of Parliament for it. If he did not have that, he would not survive as PM for very long.

But I do not believe that he should be delegating the awesome responsibility of committing the country to war to backbench MPs in this way. We backbenchers do not have the secret intelligence necessary to know whether air strikes, ground action, containment, or destruction is best. We do not have access to the strategic analysis nor technical information we need to come to this kind of decision. We do not have the legal advice as to whether or not airstrikes, for example, are justifiable and allowable under international law. So how can we come to a clear and correct decision to allow us to vote on the matter?

As the PM accepts his seals of office, he is also accepting the awful responsibility of committing our armed forces to war. He must bear that responsibility personally, albeit always taking Parliament with him. There have been only two exceptions to that over hundreds of years of history. The first was in 2003 when Tony Blair sought camouflage for his illegal invasion of Iraq from a Parliamentary vote; the second was last year with the Syria vote. Neither inspires us with any confidence about Parliamentary votes on going to war.

We don’t want a vote on going to war: we want statesmanlike leadership from the Prime Minister on it.

2014-09-23-dc-no10There 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 is engaged in military action in Iraq. They are at this moment saving civilians’ lives. So why is it that we are not doing so as well? The answer seems to be that despite the shambolic Syria vote in Parliament last year, the Prime Minister is apparently determined to secure a Parliamentary vote prior to any action. That of course is delayed because Parliament has broken up for the Party Conference Recess and because there are all sorts of workmen carrying out essential maintenance in the Palace of Westminster.

Hang on a minute. Are we really delaying action to save children’s lives so as not to interrupt Mr Miliband’s gripping rhetoric at the Labour Party Conference, and to accommodate some decorators in the chamber of the House of Commons? Surely not.

The reality is that this populist call for Parliament to vote on every single military action around the world is seriously misjudged. The Prime Minister of course needs the support and backing of Parliament for it. If he did not have that, he would not survive as PM for very long.

But I do not believe that he should be delegating the awesome responsibility of committing the country to war to backbench MPs in this way. We backbenchers do not have the secret intelligence necessary to know whether air strikes, ground action, containment, or destruction is best. We do not have access to the strategic analysis nor technical information we need to come to this kind of decision. We do not have the legal advice as to whether or not airstrikes, for example, are justifiable and allowable under international law. So how can we come to a clear and correct decision to allow us to vote on the matter?

As the PM accepts his seals of office, he is also accepting the awful responsibility of committing our armed forces to war. He must bear that responsibility personally, albeit always taking Parliament with him. There have been only two exceptions to that over hundreds of years of history. The first was in 2003 when Tony Blair sought camouflage for his illegal invasion of Iraq from a Parliamentary vote; the second was last year with the Syria vote. Neither inspires us with any confidence about Parliamentary votes on going to war.

We don’t want a vote on going to war: we want statesmanlike leadership from the Prime Minister on it.

Latest from the Chamber

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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 vill...
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Overseas Aid
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 ...
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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...

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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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