Accusations by controversial blogger Guido Fawkes dismissed by Wiltshire politician

North Wiltshire MP James Gray has dismissed online accusations that he has been doubling up on his expenses and claiming for two offices

North Wiltshire MP James Gray has dismissed online accusations that he has been doubling up on his expenses and claiming for two offices

First published in News by

North Wiltshire MP James Gray has dismissed accusations by a controversial blogger that he has been doubling up on his expenses and claiming for two offices.

The article by blogger Paul Staines, who writes under the non de plume Guido Fawkes, says the Conservative MP is claiming rent twice for his constituency office.

Mr Staines began his blog in 2004 and is well-known for his right-wing views. He prides himself on spreading “tittle-tattle, gossip and rumours” about Parliamentary life.

He says Mr Gray claims £4,800 a year for his constituency office and £13,474 for constituency accommodation for the same Wiltshire address on the Neston Park Estate.

But Mr Gray says he has an office and a home on the estate next door to each other, which are separate properties on separate leases and have been approved as such.

Although he gives an address for the North Wiltshire Conservative Association on his official Parliamentary website, he said he moved offices in 2006 or 2007.

Mr Gray said: “It’s a complete load of nonsense, he seems to be making two allegations, one is that my office is in the local Conservative party headquarters which is not true and has not been for many years.

“It’s perfectly true that I am a local MP and I am part of the local Conservative Party, but in terms of my office it’s not there at all. That’s something I did many years ago.

“I gave up using the Conservative Party offices and thought it would be better to hire a local office which was totally approved by the authorities.

“He seems to think I have two offices, which I don’t.”

The Neston Park Estate is owned by Sir James Henry Fleetwood Fuller, and the online article claims that his family supports the Conservative Party and has made donations to the party.

It also suggests that these donations would make Mr Gray’s living arrangements inappropriate.

But Mr Gray said: “It’s a snide instigation that I have a special relationship with the Fuller family.

“First of all they haven’t made any donations. The only thing I can track down is 13 or 14 years ago when the current landlord’s grandmother donated to my party.

“There is a suggestion there’s something fishy about that, but why a donation from a landlord to a Conservative Party should be of any interest whatsoever I cannot imagine.

“It’s pretty low-grade stuff. It’s not something that I’m concerned about. It’s just a silly story from someone who has got nothing better to do with his time.”

Comments (6)

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8:44am Fri 17 Jan 14

guidof says...

Good try Mr Gray, it is you not us that gave out the Association's address as your office address. We don't think you have two offices, you do.

I note that you don't give any local address for your office since our story which has also appeared in the national press.

As for us having nothing better to do, I think you'll find that Denis MacShane, Jim Devine and Chris Huhne all made the same mistake of trying to dismiss our investigations. It didn't work.
Good try Mr Gray, it is you not us that gave out the Association's address as your office address. We don't think you have two offices, you do. I note that you don't give any local address for your office since our story which has also appeared in the national press. As for us having nothing better to do, I think you'll find that Denis MacShane, Jim Devine and Chris Huhne all made the same mistake of trying to dismiss our investigations. It didn't work. guidof
  • Score: 10

12:52pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Nickthegreek says...

James, Shame you couldn't find/haven't found the time to comment on Jane Scott et al increasing their expenses? But, when your name's in the national press you can't wait to express an opinion!
Good on Guido.
James, Shame you couldn't find/haven't found the time to comment on Jane Scott et al increasing their expenses? But, when your name's in the national press you can't wait to express an opinion! Good on Guido. Nickthegreek
  • Score: 8

5:30pm Fri 17 Jan 14

sir roy.orbit of chippenham says...

Whenever I hear or see James Gray in the press I sense the smell of kippers wafting over me.
Whenever I hear or see James Gray in the press I sense the smell of kippers wafting over me. sir roy.orbit of chippenham
  • Score: 4

10:37am Sat 18 Jan 14

kimcrawley says...

James Gray is a fine example of his party, he really does think he is not accountable to anybody and takes umbrage when people question his actions.
Is he related to Scott, or is it just a party connection?
James Gray is a fine example of his party, he really does think he is not accountable to anybody and takes umbrage when people question his actions. Is he related to Scott, or is it just a party connection? kimcrawley
  • Score: 2

5:52pm Sat 18 Jan 14

shed says...

from guido Fawkes site.

Gray separately claims both constituency office and accommodation rent expenses for the same Wiltshire address: Ganbrook Farm. He claims a further £13,474-a-year for his accommodation, also charging the taxpayer up to £35,000-a-year to employ his new wife Philippa as his diary secretary on the farm they live in together. Yet if you call his listed constituency office number to book an appointment, the phone rings in a building miles away. Gray therefore appears to be doubling up on his rent expenses for his home and office, a ruse last tried by Denis MacShane.
from guido Fawkes site. Gray separately claims both constituency office and accommodation rent expenses for the same Wiltshire address: Ganbrook Farm. He claims a further £13,474-a-year for his accommodation, also charging the taxpayer up to £35,000-a-year to employ his new wife Philippa as his diary secretary on the farm they live in together. Yet if you call his listed constituency office number to book an appointment, the phone rings in a building miles away. Gray therefore appears to be doubling up on his rent expenses for his home and office, a ruse last tried by Denis MacShane. shed
  • Score: 5

7:08pm Sat 18 Jan 14

kimcrawley says...

Unbelievable, another scrounger living off Income Support paid by us. Why is it
that he thinks it's ok to fund his luxury lifestyle at taxpayers expense, but then
demands somebody receiving less 5% of his income should pay the bedroom tax.
Ian Duncan Smith is another recipient of in excess of £100,000 per year of Income Support and yet another hypocrite who thinks he can do as he likes.
Newspeak, Doublespeak, George Orwell would find it hard to believe that these unpleasant and greedy individuals have the audacity to carry on like this.
Unbelievable, another scrounger living off Income Support paid by us. Why is it that he thinks it's ok to fund his luxury lifestyle at taxpayers expense, but then demands somebody receiving less 5% of his income should pay the bedroom tax. Ian Duncan Smith is another recipient of in excess of £100,000 per year of Income Support and yet another hypocrite who thinks he can do as he likes. Newspeak, Doublespeak, George Orwell would find it hard to believe that these unpleasant and greedy individuals have the audacity to carry on like this. kimcrawley
  • Score: 3

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