Tag Archives: james gray

Tories lose 4 MPs in less than a year – will James Gray be number 5?

Quentin Davies – defected
Andrew Pelling – whip withdrawn over allegations of wife-beating
Derek Conway – whip withdrawn over expenses scandal
Bob Spink – whip withdrawn before he could resign. Now a member of UKIP.

My prediction at the start of the year that Cameron would have a bad year has remained unfulfilled, but this has mainly because Labour are having such a God awful year that Cameron’s problems have faded into the background. But losing 4 MPs – 2% of the total Parliamentary Party – in less than a year suggests a shambles whichever way you look at it.

How long before we see Cameron having to sack number 5? One MP who has survived scandal up until now has been James Gray. But for how long? The Mail reports:

Only last month, MPs of all parties were being urged not to hand out jobs to family members because of the scandal over Conway receiving taxpayers’ cash for his sons when they weren’t actually doing any work.

Now Gray, an ex-shadow defence spokesman, appears to have ridden roughshod over Cameron’s demand by putting Mrs Mayo on the payroll.

It is the latest twist in a sorry tale – and another act of bravado by the 53-year-old MP for North Wiltshire.

Last night he confirmed that mother-of-three Mrs Mayo, 45, was on his staff. “It is true, but I am not prepared to go into detail about my private life,” he told me.

In the wake of his split from Sarah, 53, it was disclosed he continued to pay her £2,400 a month from his staff allowance even though she had stopped work as his secretary two years before in order to undergo cancer treatment.

He secured permission to pay her until the terms of their separation were agreed last April. It is not known how much he is now paying Mrs Mayo.

See also: Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, Derek Conway: Shades of Gray?

Derek Conway: shades of Gray?

Pity those poor Conservatives who seem to be suffering from family breakdown at the moment. I can’t help but think that James Gray, Andrew Pelling and now Nigel Waterson would not be facing the problems they’ve been having if only the government offered all married couples a £20 a week tax bribe.

But I digress. Now that Ditherer Dave has done the decent thing and had Conway put out of his misery, the question must hangs in the air: why not James Gray? Gray, you may recall, dumped his wife while she was recovering from cancer and subsequently found himself in a selection battle. What I had forgotten until being reminded over lunch is that he too was caught out paying his estranged wife from his expenses months after she had ceased working for him.

The compassion Sir Philip Mawer feels for him in his letter (pdf) is admirable. I wonder though if anyone caught out by, for example, the tax credit system has ever received such sympathetic treatment. Fundamentally, he ended the marriage and he fiddled the system. Since Ditherer Dave has taken a hard line on Conway, why is Gray still a Conservative MP?