Saturday, May 09, 2009

James Gray MP Should Have the Whip Withdrawn


James Gray is a class one copper bottomed shit. Many of his constituents worked that out long ago. But for those who remained doubtful, all they need to do is read tomorrow's News of the World. The wretched man not only had the audacity to claim £60 for the cost of Remembrance Day wreaths, he then registered a formal complaint to the Commons authorities when he was told it wouldn't be allowed. He even whined that he had "got away with it before".

He brings disgrace on himself. He brings disgrace on the Conservative Party, and he brings politics as a whole into disrepute.

ConservativeHome has already called for him to leave politics at the next election. I'll go one step further and urge David Cameron to withdraw the whip from him. I feel sick to the stomach that an MP from the party I support could even contemplate claiming money for a wreath, let alone actually going ahead and doing it.

87 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rather than have the Whip withdrawn, can't we get a real one and use it on him.

The public flogging of an expenses manipulating copper bottomed shit would be very cathartic.

Jess The Dog said...

Agree completely. If he doens't stand down, Cameron should sack him.

This is the key difference between Cameron and Brown: Cameron has power, the power of patronage. Brown does not. In 12 months time, Brown's power will end and Cameron's will start.
#
Brown is a busted flush.

About to watch your paper review!!!

Mike Rouse said...

Agreed. Withdraw the whip. It's for people like Gray that I begin to think recall elections would be a good idea.

ILLIBERAL DEMOCRATS said...

Yes - Good Call and I agree!

Politics does not need People like Grey in it!

Politics and being an MP should be about advocating/articulating a case on behalf of the people or helping to support change through the Parliamentry process. For Folks bothered about Money - Go work in the city or somewhere where money is your reward.

Maybe I come from a strange view but I think Politics should be a calling where a sacrifice of earnings or Money is sometimes Necessary.

Claiming costs for rwiths is not just Wrong but Obscene! It is a Moral failure in that it shows no respect for the fallen or dead that may well have occured due to an Individuals voting record.

Grey is a failure that is different to the Moran details which I take an even dimmer view of but the Punishment should be equal - Time to stop people like that getting into Parliament or at least retaining their seats. If they complain that it is because of the level of parliamentry pay then I say: On your Bike!

Donal Blaney said...

Here's how you can put pressure on North Wiltshire Conservatives to get rid of this weasel:

http://donalblaney.blogspot.com/2009/05/have-you-no-shame.html

Chrysippus said...

Iain, James Gray may be a class one copper bottomed shit, but at least he has turned up at the Palace of Westminster, unlike the elected members of Sinn Fein.....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5301510/MPs-expenses-Sinn-Fein-claimed-500000-for-second-homes.html

Cynic said...

If this is true then he should have the whip withdrawn and be deselected if he wont stand down immediately.

The Tories MUST show leadership on this in contrast to ALbour

Pyers said...

Absolutely. The Tories must stamp on this arrogant piece of dog muck who considers that commemorating the dead of Britain is just another expense.

Jonathan Cook said...

I agree - bin him.

Paul said...

What punishment is withdrawing the whip? As far as I can see he can still remain an MP for another year. What are the practical benefits of it apart from removing his right to be listed as a Conservative MP?

Anonymous said...

This sounds far worse than it actually is. I think you will find the source for this is the Labour party.

As an ex service man myself,we were never expected to pay for the wreaths we laid and they were always met from expenses.

Just look beyond the emotive Iain.

Cynic said...

Has the time not come now to end all this? This is so corrosive and damaging that we need complete change. Now.

Cameron and Clegg should do a David Davies. Challenge Brown to call an immediate election. If he refuses
they should either boycott the house until he does or call on all their MPS to resign call hundreds of by elections as a referendum on the Government. This will force Brown's hand and totally undermine his credibility

denverthen said...

Hear hear. And if any others emerge who are as pathologically acquisitive as this character, then Cameron must deal with them in the same way. He must lift the standards of Parliament unilaterally, by taking a lead and raising the bar for his own party, even if that means bloodshed.

It's the only way.

James Burdett said...

Absolutely. It is not something I think that the very many hard working and entirely decent members of the Conservative Party should be tainted by. If there is any veracity in this at all, then Mr Gray's feet shouldn't touch!!

Keldorne said...

Fair enough. What he's said and done is completely unacceptable. Kick him out of the party and have done with it. Couldn't agree with you more, Iain.

Can we now expect Harriet Harman to say the same about Jaquie Smith and all the rest?

ukipwebmaster said...

With all of this hitting the fan and further 'Jaw Dropping revelations' to come; "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride".

truthhurts said...

Interesting though that if this man had been 'your friend' you'd have told him this in private and said nothing here...

Funny old world....

Paul Halsall said...

The NOTW says Gray claimed c. £131,894 expenses *last year*. That must include expenses for office personnel. It might turn out that bigger problems will arise with this area than the ACA alone.

Paul Halsall said...

@Cynic

"Cameron and Clegg should do a David Davies. Challenge Brown to call an immediate election. If he refuses
they should either boycott the house until he does or call on all their MPS to resign call hundreds of by elections as a referendum on the Government."

That would be a really bad idea. Doing so would effectively break the British constitution, and if you think anything in this relatively wealthy, free, and , you really need to calm down.

Silent Hunter said...

Cameron must act - SACK HIM.

If he doesn't - what will be the difference between the Tories and Labour?

ljuk said...

If he is the candiate at the next election he may well give the seat to the Lib Dems. I am completly ashamed to have him as my MP. If he is such a good candidate he should resign and face a by-election as an independant. I don't want him to be represnting me any more either as a Conservative or an Independant.

Paul Burgin said...

He has form Iain. I blogged about Gray in Sept 2006.http://paulburgin.blogspot.com/2006/09/shame.html

edf said...

Don't get the impression that I'm condoning what he's done, but found this extract from parliamentary questions 10.02.2003...

"Mr James Gray (North Wiltshire): Whether the cost of poppy wreaths laid by honourable Members on Remembrance Sunday is an allowable expense against the Incidental Expenses Provision.


Peter Hain:

No, but if the Hon Member wishes, it is open to him to make representations to the Advisory Panel on Members' Allowances, who advise on detailed rules for the incidental expenses provision and other allowances."

Well he did ask... tho its still a shitty thing to do. and agree that DC can and should act on any of his MPs who've blatantly been taking the piss on expenses, even if the rules allowed them.

ConstantlyFurious said...

It's a shame - we know how you feel about her, but it's the Chipmunk's turn - see here Why Hazel Blears Must Quit. Oh dear.

Oldrightie said...

This is getting silly. If I had to fund my organisations bereavement testemonials I would be broke. Emotive as this appears let us at least verify the facts. If they are as TNOW, that paragon of intellectual journalism is correct, then sack the bastard. However, if..........

Anonymous said...

It seems that Mr Mundell, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, has been up to the same thing.

Surely Mr Cameron should remove him from his post immediately also.

Anonymous said...

Disagree.

This wasn't flowers for a friend's funeral.

This was a symbolic tribute carried out on behalf of his constituents.

Fair enough for 'them' (ie us the taxpayers) to pay for it.

If an MP is invited to plant a tree, do you expect to pay for it and bring their own spade? If an MP cuts a ribbon do you expect them to pay for the scissors?

There are so many desperately important issues coming out of this expenses row, we should concentrate on them, and not on this red herring.

maxu said...

Out of interest Ian, when was the alst time you bought a wreath?

True its an unfortunate thing to claim on expenses and appears in quite poor taste. However I think that it is clearly something you would only buy as a public figure as part of your public role. It is not private expenditure in the same that some of the other claims (e.g. bath plugs) are.

CryBaby said...

After what we've seen lately, I bet he's not the only one.

Verity said...

This is stomach-curdling. An MP, whose freedom to be in an elected Parliament was bought dear, did not want to do the dead the honour of paying £60 for a wreath for their remembrance.

So if his spirit is so mean that he couldn't make the tiny sacrifice of £60 for the wreath he would be photographed laying, what price freedom if left in hands like his?

He should indeed have the whip withdrawn. And I'm sure most of his constituents have relatives who fought in wars in the last century, or this century, or people who nursed and cared for injured service people, who may not be inclined to return him. Ever.

Fausty said...

What a jerk.

The Tories need to keep their noses spotless.

What are the selection criteria for Conservative MPs?

Cameron can only survive damaging Tory expenses claims if he insists that offenders pay back the money immediately, while publicly admitting that they over-stepped the mark - no excuses. It'd be painful, but the boil would be lanced.

If the offenders won't do this, sack them and get in new blood - those who understand, from the outset, that integrity matters and that they should make their money outside of parliament.

Labour will never do this and the public will notice the difference in management styles between the parties.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the south, not far from Southampton. Looking at the broadly listed expenses of local MPs on TheyWorkforYou it looks as if both Tory and Lib Dems have done their best to keep expenses down, but John Denham, Labour MP for Itchen, is ranked joint 1st for "Additonal costs Allowance".

I can't imagine it will have changed much since 2007/08

About James Gray's wreath - it might be "Common practice" for an organisation to pay for wreaths laid by staff. But, in "normal" organisations they wouldn't first be paid for by an individual, it would be provided by the organisation itself, and be paid for centrally.

There are so many things listed within "expenses" for MPs that the rest of us have to pay for them out of our own pockets, which aren't anywhere near as full as theirs. And we don't get tax-free allowances, subsidised meals etc either.

We have to pay to go to and from work, and, if we need a second home to make commuting easier we have to pay for that too. We don't have the privilege of deciding our own salary, we have to take what's either negotiated or what's on offer, and we have to pay taxes that are decided by the Treasury. If we mess up a tax form we get penalised, there aren't any excuses - we certainly can't claim that "accounting isn't my strong point" and get away with it. Also, if we overpay the delay in getting the money back is horrendous.

The whole thing is sickening, there can be no excuse that "it was Thatcher's fault" as I've read on some places, because the Green Book is fairly recent. Claiming expenses is voluntary, nobody actually forces them to claim for food, nappies, prams and so on.

I think it's time for a general election, either that or Cameron must make tough rules for Tory MPs, and if they don't like it - well, they can go, because nobody wants them!

acadman said...

Sorry, but as someone who supports several military charities and always goes to church on Remembrance Sunday, I cant share the automatic outrage on this...as others have said, he was acting on behalf of his constituents in a public role. When I see MPs lay wreaths on my behalf I like to think its a shared experience.

It would only be disreputable if it was part of a wider pattern of behaviour that would suggest that his motives were venal, though admittedly his whining that 'he had got away with it before' would certainly point in that direction....

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Perhaps the time is coming Iain when parliament ought to be suspended for a couple of years?

Armchair said...

Absolute fucking scumbag who clearly doesn't have conservative principles at heart.

I demand that this man is deselected immediately

The Grim Reaper said...

The man is indeed a complete and utter shit. Much like many of the troughing politicians that the Telegraph is currently telling us about.

I wonder when they're going to get round to telling us what Cameron and his lot have been swindling us for. The Telegraph's certainly letting them twist in the wind right now...

Anonymous said...

acadman
Can't agree with you.
He was well paid yet decided to let taxpayers pay for his wreaths. He enjoyed being photographed laying the wreaths. Not mentioning of course that his only committment was turning up at the ceremony. When he found out that he would no longer be reimbursed for the wreaths he got angry and rather than thinking of his own good luck at being fit and healthy he decided to get angry. The same weekend that 4 soldiers died while being paid £14K a year.

Anonymous said...

Iain - I've never commented on your blog before (despite reading it every day). This is absolutely disgraceful. I URGE David Cameron to do the decent thing and get rid of this waste of space.

William Blakes Ghost said...

The Conservative blogosphere seems to be having a total hissy fit.

Nelson, Montgomerie and now Dale.

Yes this Gray seems a prize whining sh*t but at this moment there happens to be an awful lot worse going on.

Get some perspective!

anonaLon said...

You may not like this guy but I don't think his claim is any worse than some of the other expense claims I have read about. At least what he was buying had some legitimacy.

The Jacqui Smith Porngate affair seems to have been forgotten quickly and conveniently blamed on her husband.

cabalamat said...

What a slimeball. An MP's constituents should have the power to review the MP's expenses and, if necessary, force them to pay it back.

I'm sick of these arseholes who are supposed to be representing us and governing the country but instead are more interested in their gravy train. Some MPs are honest and decent, but many are not.

I agree with Mike Rouse that recall elections would help.

Savonarola said...

Disagree.

As an MP he is required to attend these ceremonies. The cost of the wreath is a necessary expense.

You are using the wrong stick to beat this Class1 shit.

FFS there are bigger and juicier fish to fry.

Catosays said...

I didn't join the Conservative Party to have twats like Gray represent me.
If he can't stump up £60 after all the money he claims then it demonstrates what a miserable little shit he is.

Still, on the bright side, at least Quentin Davies is gone and won't be back. Odd, I thought he might have featured in the revelations.

Shinsei said...

I presume Gordon Brown and Cameron & Clegg etc who lay wreaths at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday don't actually pay for these themselves ?

strapworld said...

Does the Queen pay for hers? Or any member of the Royal Family?
Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition etc. etc.

If they do purchase them themselves, then I would be disgusted if they claimed expenses.

But to have the nerve to moan and ask a parliamentary question -and not get knocked back by the Government or 'honourable' colleagues shows, perhaps, that this is quite widespread.

I still find it bloody offensive and the man Gray should be sacked immediately from the Conservative Party.

I believe that every candidate standing for the Conservatives will have to have a pledge to his/her constituents that they will disclose on the internet FULL details of their monthly expense claims. And invite questions!

strapworld said...

Jeremy Jacobs makes a very serious point.

Perhaps we need the Military to take over.

We cannot let our country drift for another year under this discredited, corrupt government.

We cannot allow them anymore time to grab more public money in 'expenses'

The officials in charge, of paying these claims, must be sacked and the Speaker dismissed.

If we do not act, Iain, we leave the path open for the BNP -untainted by all this!- and other crazies to gain greater support!

I have never felt such anger,nor have I experienced a subject upon which everyone I meet shares the same view.

Our democracy is under threat!

No wonder MP's have allowed this country to be given to the EU without a whimper! They have, it appears, all been bought off!

If this was France there would be revolution. For the first time in my life I wish I was French!

Grumpy Old Sod said...

Nice to see the odd bit of Anglo-Saxon language appearing...

PIENOMICS said...

This man is odious.

Iain, is it possible that Hazel Blears has been shafted by her own side after her "You Tube if you want to" comments last weekend?

Of course she deserves to be exposed for her property dealings but do we detect the dark hand of the Labour spin merchants in this?

After all, why are we not reading anything about Balls and Cooper? Perhaps they have friends in high places.

Barnacle Bill said...

Iain you are not laying a smoke screen or, putting up a spoiler to deflect any anger when the Shadow Cabinet's claims are publish to morrow are you?
Whilst on the face of it this claim appears morally corrupt, as it was done on our behalf I do not see the problem with the claim.
What I do object to is MPs getting rich at our expense. At the end of a Parliament an MP should only have benefited to the extent of his salary and reasonable expenses incurred.
Not as we see many using their expenses to "flip" up a property portfolio at our expense.
My grandmother used to say. "think about before you shout", well worth bearing in mind.

Anonymous said...

Get real he has hardly done anything wrong if any wrong at all.

His only crime as far as I can see was to whinge about it and as that was so long ago I can only think that this story was released by those with an ill intent other than just MPs expenses.

Amongst all the tawdry details of fraudulent expense claims by MPs coming out in recent days, this is actually one of the few legitimate expenses and gave NO profit to the claimant.

It is quite obvious that the story has been put out to capitalise on the present day sensitive subject of our war dead.

I would have thought hardly any dignatary (if any) actually pays for the wreath they lay, the foudation stone they set or the champagne they throw at a new ship.

When the crowd bays for blood, it is ALWAYS wise to question the crowd's motives.

Flemingcrag said...

Maybe some MPs will pay a price for their avarice as they voraciously raped the public purse with their "creative" expense claims and avoided capital gains tax by "moving their main house" more times than your average Nomad pitches his tent but, they will still be well heeled.
After the next general election some may no longer be MPs either through de-selection or the Voters rejecting them, or a combination of both but;
They will still have their "Sir Fred Goodwin" sized pensions provided at the publics' expense, plus tax free redundancy payments and a new career to look forward to; giving lessons in that one skill they aptly excelled at whilst in Parliament: TAX AVOIDANCE.

Unsworth said...

It's the comment that he had "got away with it before" which is so revealing. Presumably he felt that by claiming he was doing something which was, at best, tasteless and at worst underhand. Do we really want our MPs to have such distorted personal values that they are content to make such claims despite clear misgivings?

This is an elected representative. He should have enough ethical and political understanding to recognise that at some stage his 'sins' would be found out.

In the case of his dubious morality I really cannot understand why he didn't just swallow the costs - or at least retrieve them from some of his other expenses. Is he not paid enough?

In the political arena I'm staggered that he should be so unsubtle and incompetent - on second thoughts maybe I should not be so surprised. This is a man who obviously believes that he and his parliamentary colleagues should behave like this.

Who is it that sets the standards of behaviour? Perhaps the Central Office should now begin courses in ethics and political commonsense for MPs. Maybe, in the interests of mutual benefit and understanding some Labour, Lib Dem, and Northern Irish MPs could attend, too.

Doug said...

I'm not sure how to put this into context. He claimed it was for official duties as an MP which it was and which the expenses systems was explicitly set up for. In any case 'buying it out of his own pocket' is technically still tax payers money. The question is does David Cameron himself or the Parliamentary authorities or the Tory party pay for his wreath on Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph?

Doesn't it make sense that the wreaths that MPs lay as official duties and doing so on constituents behalf should be paid for by constituents?

Windsor Tripehound said...

Jess The Dog said...
Agree completely. If he doens't stand down, Cameron should sack him.
Trouble is, Cameron can't sack him; withdrawing the whip is the most he can do. MPs are not the employees of their parties.

It is virtually impossible to remove a sitting MP as we found in WIndsor 5 years ago. We could do with some sort of American style recall system. I strongly recommend everyone to read Caswell and Hannan's The Plan. I'm sure that that nice Mr Dale would be happy to supply copies at "reasonable" cost, seeing that his name appears in one of the appendices!

Will S said...

If Cameron sacks him it would show the public that he's genuine when he says he wants politics cleared up. Unlike Brown who's done nothing.

Anonymous said...

"Out of interest Ian, when was the alst time you bought a wreath?"

What an idiotic question, when Iain last bought a wreath has nothing to do with it.

When was the last time he bought a £550 sink? When was the last time he gave his brother £6000 for a cleaner?

careful ben said...

About eight years ago we had a similar case in Dundee. The Lord Provost (equivalent of a mayor) had gone to Donald Dewar's funderal, put in a little something for the collection plate. Then she claimed it back. Quite rightly, she was hounded out of office. What this prick's done is a lot worse. Cameron must seize this as an opportunity

Martin said...

This really isn't the most serious thing to come out of the expenses disclosure.

I'm no fan of Gray, but it is arguable that attendance at rememberance services is part of offical duties. Each town in the constituency might expect their MP to attend and to participate. Did he participate? Did he share the experience with his constituents. If so, I'd say it was an expense incurred in an offical capacity. If he turned up 5 minutes beforehand and left as soon as the local paper had taken his photo, I'd say his attendance was for personal/party political purposes and not in an official capacity.

Gray's claim may offend you and others morally, but that's not important in a court of law.

It my understanding that MPs are only supposed to claim second home expenses if they are incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily for parliamentary business. Surely MPs making such claims are warranting that the expenses meet the relevant tests. If they know that the expenses do not meet the tests, but they claim them regardless, they would appear to be guilty of fraud. "My mates all do it, and I've got way with it before" isn't going to get a fraudelent benfit claimant very far in court. Surely the same rules apply to MPs.

Rather than wasting time tracking down who leak the expenses information to the Telegraph, the police should be investigating some of the statements made by MPs in support of their claims. I accept that a custodial sentance is unlikely, but even in our current legal system surely being found guilty of stealing thousands of pounds would justify a few hours of community service. Perhaps they could do some painting and decorating of another MPs second home to help reduce what they can claim from the taxpayer.

ranger1640 said...

A real man of the people Mr Gray. He is not like his name on this issue he is very black and white. This arsehole should take a visit to Headley Court http://www.pmrafns.org/HC.HTM and see the work that goes into helping injured service personnel. Arsehole Gray whinges about £6o and this week 4 soldiers where killed in Afghanistan, Mr Gray is without doubt a piece of dog shit scum.

As an Ex-Royal Irish Ranger I would love to meet arsehole Gray and wring his scroney turkey neck.

Al said...

Although I can see how this seems both cheap and disrespectful, let's look at this less emotionally. The more I think about this the less objectionable it becomes.

The purpose of expenses in most businesses (and ideally the HoC too) is to reimburse someone for costs incurred that are necessary to doing their job.

Laying a wreath at a rememberance day ceremony is a part of an MP's job, and the purchase and laying of a wreath would be a legitimate cost here. Just like the travel to get there would be.

Yes it seems shocking at first, but it's one of the least objectionable claims I've heard of. There's no fraudulent attempts here, just part of doing a job. I don't see it as much different to a company paying for suit hire for a formal event, for example.

Anonymous said...

If dave hasn't acted well before June 4th Party members will need to "express themselves" at the polls.

Knut said...

I'm sorry Iain, I usually agree with you, but this time I can't. It is a story that on first glance looks shocking, but when you read it again, it isn't anything like as bad. He claimed for wreaths on behalf of his constituents, which didn't benefit him and he used for the stated purpose. If that is the best that they can come up with, the Conservatives' expenses claims can't be too bad.

Yes, it might have been nice for him to pay it, but it is hardly in the same league as most of the activities exposed by the Telegraph

Doug said...

On the flip side Iain is saying that he doesn't think it appropriate for tax payers to pay the cost of wreaths. I find that morally reprehensible. If there's one thing tax payers money should be spent on it's the costs of Remembrance Sunday. If I were making a list of things MPs expenses should be spent on then I would certainly put a few wreaths on it for all MPs to lay at venues across their constituencies in remembrance of those who have fallen and on the behalf of local constituents. I think any tax payer who wants to abrogate their responsibility in spending a little money for this purpose is the real copper bottomed s**t.

Consensus seems to be that Gray is a twerp in general. I have no idea. There certainly is a group of Tory MPs who are twats.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be some debate as to whether this is exactly what it seems or is as bad as is being spun - I'm not sure becuase like everything in politics you can never be sure you have the absolute facts at hand, never sure how much is spin. Either way though, I wish you hadn't used a picture of him hunting to represent his greed. There is enough anti hunting sentimnet to deal with as it is and there are already too many that try and turn the issue into a class war.

Anonymous said...

And John Gummer? Gummer is an excellent MP and brings to the House an acute sense of morality, which is rare (and I say this as a Labour party activist). My concern is when we start on this path, where does it stop? How many MP's (good MPs) will we lose because of this arguably McCarthyism witch hunt.

Michael St George said...

I have a better idea.

Make every single one of the 646 grasping scumbags who pollute the so-called Mother of Parliaments pay back evey single penny they've claimed in the last three years - and donate the whole lot to Help for Heroes.

kasou said...

Dear Sir, (or Iain if we may),

My wife and I are deeply saddened by the recent publication
http://timesonline.typepad.com/comment/2009/05/political-dopplegangers.html
linking myself with a somewhat dubious character in your good countries cabinet.

We do not claim for a second home (swamp) as we have a rather fine grace and favour palace nearby where we conduct the most of our government business.

Swamp cleaning is undertaken by staff fully paid for out of our own funds (usually mushrooms but thats by the by)

To be compared with Mr Gordon Brown, despite us both being Scottish, is demeaning and we feel hurt that the Times, an otherwise outstanding newspaper should stoop so low and bring our honest people loving, selves into disrepute.

We are taking legal advice from Mr. Savages lawyers as to libel proceedings against The Times.

Meanwhile we do not intend travelling to the UK as we feel that your present Home Sec. may be inclined to forbid SWAMP creatures from entering your clean living country and we would be embaraseed.


Yours sincerly,

SHREK.

c/o Disney Corp, USA.

trevorsden said...

I would hope that the wreaths laid by the conservative leader on behalf of the conservative party would be paid by the conservative party.
The PMs wreath would be laid on behalf of the govt so paid by the govt (ie us). The conservatives get 'short money' for running the opposition so wreaths are still probably paid by the taxpayer.

But remembrance day is an official national ceremony.

Personal wreaths should be paid by the individual (who is still paid by the taxpayer). If an MP is laying a wreath on behalf of his party at his constituency it should be his party who pay. I would prefer taxpayers money to be targeted at equipment for soldiers.

Anonymous said...

You'd buy a wreath as a mark of respect. This pompous fool really doesn't deserve any! Withdraw the whip!!

Alfie said...

I don't know why you are appalled. Gray is just one of hundreds of other MPs who have defrauded the taxpayer on an industrial scale. Can you honestly tell me that other MPs when they read this won't be saying to themselves,"Claiming for wreaths?....Damn! Why didn't I think of that!"

We need people of integrity and belief in parliament - what we have in reality (apart from a very few like Frank Field and Norman Baker) are failed lawyers, boy wonders who have never had a proper job, chancers, spivs, n'er do wells - and in the case of my own MP, a poodle of a Labour yes monkey. They are filling their boots while they can, because when they get the boot, it's the dole queue for them (especially if Cameron fulfills his promise to chop all those hundreds of Quangos which currently employ ex MPs so lavishly).

Plenty said...

Disgrace is all I can say on this one.

Andrew Allison said...

The whip should be withdrawn and he then should be de-selected. The man is an embarrassment to the Conservative Party, Parliament and the country.

Liz said...

Cameron has to be seen to act over this - given that Labour's reaction appears to be to deny, threaten legal action and spin, the Conservatives really need to distance themselves by actually acting. The whip should be withdrawn from everybody who has abused the system, and apologies should be made.

I'm not holding my breath, that said.

The whole thing is deeply, deeply shameful. I'm meant to be going to stump for the local elections on June 4, and I'm really not looking forward to the reaction I'm bound to get.

Bardirect said...

Think you've got this one wrong Iain.

What is surprising is that amongst all the bogus cost of living expenses which were being allowed the costs of a wreath incurred only because he was an MP in a representative capacity was not.

I can't see any element of perk in this one.

neil craig said...

It is defencible, I don't say nice but defencible, on the fact that if he were only a private citizen he would not be expected to buy such wreaths.

You have put up a hostage to fortune here Iain - we are a very long way from having seen all the Telegraph file here & there may well be worse than this to come in all parties.

Pete said...

Did Grey supply his OWN wreath or spray of Poppies at his own expense;

IF yes then the claim is fair.

If however he DID NOT make his own contribution to the Haig fund - out of his own pocket - then I agree this claim is in poor taste; not what I would expect from an MP of any party.

davidc said...

Pete said...
'---- not what I would expect from an MP of any party.'

oh contrare pete, it is exactly what one would expect from an m.p. of any party

AD627 said...

How many people here pay for a wreath on Remembrance Day? Does anyone seriously believe that HMQ pays for HER wreath out of her own income?

Why the fuss about this? It's about 20k less bad than claiming for dry rot in a home a hundred miles away from your constituency or Parliament, or any of the major frauds perpetrated by other MPs.

An instance of Dale demonstrating he is completely lacking in any political judgement whatsoever.

lids said...

Iain, I led a public camapign to fit foam to Hercules aircraft following the shooting down of XV179 in Iraq and the deaths of all on board. James Gray's public advice to me was to let it lie. He claimed to be working for the families of the dead but he had little, if any, contact with them. When the foam campaign started to achieve success he suddenly declared his public support. This after describing me as publicity seeking!

My statement that the guys could have survived the attack, rubbished by Gray, were upheld by the Wiltshire Coroner at the subsequent inquest.

Now all war going Hercules aircraft have had foam fitted to the fuel tanks.

He deserves everything he gets. We should mount a peoples's campaign here in North Wilts, he is my constituency MP. I fully support and concur with your comments. He is the worst sort of Conservative MP.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather public money was used for a wreath than to pay for a 2nd house by the coast or bed linen from Harrods.

And as for some people on this thread calling for the suspension of parliament or a Military government, they really do give the right wing a bad name...

Anonymous said...

Well said Iain. Anon

Anonymous said...

This is a link to the army rumour network, a thread discussing James Gray, not for the squeamish, but the one liners concerning this "chinless walt" are particularly funnt.

http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=122735.html

Anonymous said...

Dump him now, DC, or lose credibility yourself. I don't want any pieces of shit like Gray in my area or in the party I vote for. The wreath, sick as it is, is almost a side issue - the man has shown himself to be an arrogant cad who betrayed his sick wife and broke up another family, and then bleated that he couldn't help it! To the stocks with him, and out of public life.

Anonymous said...

What hysterical nonsense! It seems you only have to mention war veterans and some people abandon their intellectual faculties altogether.

If an MP is attending a remembrance ceremony in his/her capacity as an MP then of course he/she should be entitled to claim reimbursement of any expenses incurred. The purchase of a wreath is self-evidently a work-related expense.

Anonymous said...

From a disgruntled ex-Gray voter:

Yes, Iain, you are absolutely spot on. But the North Wiltshire members have only themselves to blame if he loses in the next election (he has been reselected!)

You might remember a certain hooh-hah when Mr. Gray was found to have been conducting an affair whilst his wife was in hospital with cancer. Now, I don't personally believe that what one gets up to in one's private life _necessarily_ directly affects one's ability to be a good MP, but it certainly gives the onlooker a very clear insight into who one is as a person...

The North Wilts conservatives had a perfectly good chance to deselect him, but voted by majority to keep him in his position and there were endless smug Gray-supporters going around saying I told you so about how wonderful he was, and how he'd be vindicated. Well, I wonder if they'll be standing by that decision now?

Hmm...

Anonymous said...

Was James Gray the only politician who made such a claim ?

According to media reports, the fees office willingly endorsed claims for chandeliers and the like.

'Tory bashing' is Nulabor's standard reaction as their popularity falls.

Anonymous said...

I was acquainted with James Grey both professionally and socially long before he entered the murky world of politics. I liked him and enjoyed his company; it therefore saddens me greatly to see the disdain and rejection that he has brought (heaped?)upon himself. Man is a strange creature!