Tory MP dropped from charity role after allegedly making racist remark

Support us and go ad-free

A Conservative MP has been asked to step back from his role at a top charity after confusing two Asian cabinet ministers.

The MailOnline reported that James Gray, the MP for North Wiltshire, had been speaking at an event for the St John Ambulance charity in parliament in September, when he was meant to be introducing Nadhim Zahawi, who was then vaccines minister.

“They all look the same to me”

But he is reported to have confused him with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, and reports said he remarked:

They all look the same to me.

Gray denies making the remark but said he did confuse the two.

He told the MailOnline:

I said ‘I am sorry to confuse the two of you. You two look very alike’. I said ‘I am sorry if I got you two mixed up’.

The notion that this is some sort of racist remark is ridiculous. They are two very good friends of mine.

“St John does not tolerate racism in any way, shape or form”

A spokesperson for St John Ambulance confirmed Gray had been asked to step back from all activities associated with the charity, where he is a commander in the crder of St John, the parent charity of St John Ambulance.

They said:

St John does not tolerate racism in any way, shape or form. We spoke with James Gray following the event about our values as an open, inclusive and progressive charity.

Gray was also forced to apologise last month for a “foolish remark” suggesting a bomb should be planted in a Labour frontbencher’s office.

At the time Gray claimed he meant “no offence” with the comment about Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds, which that he posted in a WhatsApp group ahead of the opposition’s conference in Brighton.

The timing of the remark particularly raised concern among MPs because it was at the Conservative Party conference in the same city in 1984 that Margaret Thatcher was targeted by a bombing.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. A TORY is a TORY is a TORY is a TORY……. Racist, Neoliberal with Thatcher and Reagan’s BIG dollop of Neoconservativism, Ignorant, Arrogant, Killers,Thieves, Plunderers, Pirates, Colonialist all stinking of their old and new dirty blood money! Vile creatures, wonder what TORY Filth Starmer had to say, no doubt something bull and drab that made the hall fall into a deep sleep dreaming of killing ‘natives’ somewhere on earth!

    2. MP James Gray can’t differentiate between two very prominent Asian Ministers from his own political party and mixes them up. But wait – he also says it’s ‘ridiculous’ to consider him a racist because ‘they are two very good friends of mine’. What? He can’t even tell his ‘very good friends’ apart, if they are Asian?

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.