The MP made the ‘foolish’ remark on a Tory WhatsApp group ahead of Labour’s conference in Brighton – where an IRA bomb killed five people at the Conservative conference in 1984
Image: Rex Features)
A Tory MP has apologised after making a sick joke about delivering a “bomb” to a Labour MP’s office.
James Gray admitted his comment on a Tory WhatsApp group was “foolish” as it emerged at the start of Labour’s party conference in Brighton.
His comments had targeted Labour party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds.
The conference is held next-door to the Grand Hotel, where an IRA bomb during the Tories’ 1984 conference killed five people.
According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Gray replied to a comment on a WhatsApp group from fellow Conservative MP Rob Largan.
Mr Largan had said: “Does anybody know where Anneliese Dodds’ Commons office is based? I need to deliver something to her office.”
Mr Gray replied: “A bomb, perhaps?”
After being contacted by the Mirror, Mr Gray confirmed he made the remarks saying: “This was a foolish remark made on a private What’s App and deleted almost immediately.
“I meant no offence of any kind, and hope none was taken.”
Ms Dodds said in a statement: “I think it’s important that he apologises.
“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.”
The comments emerged at the same time as Conservatives voiced outcry at Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, calling Tories “scum”.
Ms Rayner said at an event for Labour members: “I’m sick of shouting from the sidelines and I bet youse lot are as well.
“We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, absolute vile [inaudible] Banana Republic, vile, nasty, Etonian [inaudible] piece of scum.”
To applause, she added she had “held back a little”.
Tory minister Amanda Milling said the Labour MP’s remarks were “shocking”, adding: “Angela Rayner must apologise.”
She said Ms Rayner had been former leader Jeremy Corbyn’s “henchman when Labour became embroiled in anti-Semitism” and “she failed to act”.
Fellow Foreign Office minister James Cleverly accused Ms Rayner of “talking crap”. He said: “I’m sure this went down well in the room but when voters look at the party that has had both female PMs, with half of the great offices of state filled by women, half by BAME, most diverse government, more gay ministers than Labour ever had etc.”
Ms Rayner refused to back down when quizzed on her comments today.
She told Sky News: “I am not saying that anyone who voted for the Conservatives are racist, scummy and homophobic… I’m saying the Prime Minister has said those things and acted in that way.
“If the Prime Minister wants to apologise and remove himself from those comments he’s made that are homophobic, racist and misogynistic then I will apologise for calling him scummy.”