THE MP for North Wiltshire has been asked to stand down from his role with a top charity after mixing up two Asian cabinet members.

MailOnline reported that James Gray 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.

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".

Mr Gray denies making the remark but said he did confuse the two.
Nevertheless, St John Ambulance dropped him from the role of Commander of the Order of St John, the parent charity of St John Ambulance.

A spokesman 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.”

MailOnline reports that Mr Gray made the controversial remarks while on-stage after attempting to introduce Mr Zahawi but mentioned Mr Javid, who had not yet arrived at the event, instead.

When someone pointed out his mistake, he is said to have made the inappropriate comment which was meant as a joke, according to the newspaper's source.

Following the incident a Conservative Party spokeswoman said: “These comments were misjudged. We do not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.”

He told the Adver: “It is perfectly true that I confused the two, and immediately apologised to Nadhim, who is a close friend. The quote attributed to me is simply untrue.”

He told 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 idea that this is racist is completely untrue. Nadhim did not speak to me about it afterwards, he spoke to a lot of people.”

Mr Gray had been hosting the reception on September 8 to thank St John Ambulance volunteers and frontline staff for what he described as their ‘extraordinary efforts’ during the pandemic.

The Monday after the get-together he proudly posted a picture of himself with Mr Zahawi and SJA chief exec Martin Houghton-Brown online.

Mr Gray was admitted as a commander of the Order of St John back in September 2020.
Last month, Mr Gray apologised for joking that “a bomb” should be delivered to the office of Labour Party chair Anneliese Dodds.

He later said: “It was a foolish remark. I meant no offence and hope none was taken.”