The Conservative MP who mistook cabinet ministers Sajid Javid and Nadhim Zahawi and allegedly claimed “they all look the same to me” was dismissed by his party with a warning.
James Gray got into a racing series after reportedly making the derogatory remark at an event for St. John’s Ambulance that both ministers attended.
The 66-year-old MP denies the attributed quote that “everyone looks the same to me” – but admitted that he thought the ministers look the same.
A Conservative Party spokesman condemned his statements: “These comments were misjudged. We do not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. “
The independent one understands that Mr. Gray was reminded of the standards expected of him as a MP by Tory chief whip Mark Spencer – but no further action was taken.
St. John’s Ambulance was quick to respond to the comments, calling on the MP to step down from his role as parliamentary advocate for the ambulance service.
A spokesman for the charity said, “St. John does not tolerate racism in any way, form, or form. We spoke to James Gray after the event about our values as an open, inclusive and progressive charity. “
Labor also condemned his reported statements and called on Boris Johnson to take “firm” disciplinary action against Mr. Gray.
Taiwo Owatemi MP, Shadow Minister for Women and Labor, said: “Enough is enough. These reported statements by James Gray are shameful and completely unacceptable. “
She added: “Boris Johnson needs to change his habits and take decisive action here to make it clear that racist language has no place in a mainstream political party. These remarks simply cannot go unchallenged. “
An eyewitness at the recent parliamentary event said that MailOnline – who first reported on the comments – that Mr. Zahawi had a private conversation with Mr. Gray immediately after his speech.
However, he denied having been approached by Mr Zahawi after the incident, saying he was “very close friends” with two ministers who are some of the most prominent politicians in Westminster.
He said that MailOnline: “The idea that this is some kind of racist remark is ridiculous. You are two very good friends of mine. I said, ‘I’m sorry to confuse you both. You two look very much alike. ‘ I said, ‘I’m sorry if I mixed up the two of you.’ “
Mr Gray had to apologize only last month for a “stupid remark” that a bomb was about to be placed in the office of a senior Labor MP.
At the time, Mr Gray said that he meant “no insult” in the comment on Labor leader Anneliese Dodds, which he posted on a WhatsApp group ahead of the Brighton opposition conference.
The timing of the comment was of particular concern to MPs, as Margaret Thatcher was bombed at the 1984 Conservative Party conference in the same city.