Sajid Javid grilled over GP consultation issues
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James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire, was told to step back from his charity job after allegedly mixing up two senior Asian ministers. Mr Gray allegedly said: “They all look the same to me.”
He made the gaffe when he introduced the then vaccines minister, Nadhim Zahawi, as the health secretary at a parliamentary reception last month.
Sajid Javid is the current health secretary after he replaced Matt Hancock.
A witness told the Daily Mail when his error was pointed out to him, he allegedly said: “They all look the same to me.”
Mr Gray was then pulled to one side by Mr Zahawi for a private conversation.
The Tory has denied making the comment and insisted he had only said the ministers “look very alike” and apologised for mixing them up.
He added the two ministers were close friends of his and “the notion this is some sort of racist remark is ridiculous”.
A spokesperson for the SJA said it “does not tolerate racism in any way, shape or form”.
They confirmed: “We spoke with James Gray following the event about our values as an open, inclusive and progressive charity.”
A Conservative party spokesperson said: “These comments were misjudged.
“We do not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.”
He is not expected to face any further disciplinary action.
However, some Tory frontbenchers have expressed their hope that he would step down at the next election.
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Mr Gray became a commander of the Order of St John in September last year.
Two days before the event, the MP congratulated SJA volunteers for doing a “huge job in carrying out the vaccinations and in training and coordinating volunteers”.
Mr Gray came under fire a few weeks later after suggesting a bomb should be placed in a Labour MPs office.
After a Tory MP asked on WhatsApp where the Labour party chair, Anneliese Dodds’ Commons office was to deliver something to her, Gray replied: “A bomb, perhaps?”
Mr Gray’s comments were met with criticism from some of his own MPs.
He said the remarks had been “foolish” and apologised.
Mr Gray said: “I meant no offence and hope none was taken.”
Ms Dodds welcomed his apology and said politicians should be able to work “without any fear of intimidation or violence”.
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