Tory apologises for suggesting ‘bomb’ should be planted at Labour MP’s office

James Gray said he meant ‘no offence’ with the comment.

Anneliese Dodds (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Anneliese Dodds (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A veteran Tory MP has apologised for a “foolish remark” suggesting a bomb should be planted in a Labour frontbencher’s office.

James Gray said he meant “no offence” with the comment about Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds 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 conference in the same city in 1984 that Margaret Thatcher was targeted by a bombing.

The Mail On Sunday reported an exchange between Mr Gray, who has represented North Wiltshire since 1997, and fellow Tory MP Robert Largan.

“Does anybody know where Anneliese Dodds’ Commons office is based? I need to deliver something to her office,” Mr Largan wrote.

Mr Gray replied: “A bomb, perhaps?”

Later writing on Twitter, Mr Largan said he was making a “polite request” for directions in order to hand deliver a letter.

He called for Mr Gray to apologise for the “completely and utterly inappropriate” remark.

A number of women MPs were said to be planning on raising the remark with Conservative Party headquarters, in the context of violence against women as well as the IRA bombing at the Grand Hotel.

Mrs Thatcher, the then prime minister, survived the attempted assassination but five people were killed including, Tory MP Sir Anthony Berry, and many more were injured.

In a statement, Mr Gray said: “It was a foolish remark made on a private WhatsApp and swiftly deleted. I meant no offence and am sorry if any was taken.”

Ms Dodds, the MP for Oxford East, raised concerns about safety for politicians.

“I think it’s important that he apologises,” she said.

“I would say that the broader issue of safety for everyone in politics is very important.

“I think all parliamentarians should be committed to ensuring that everyone can be involved in public life without any fear of intimidation or violence.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News