A TORY MP has been forced to quit a charity post after allegedly saying two senior Asian ministers “look the same to me”.
James Gray, 66, reportedly mixed up Health Secretary Sajid Javid and fellow Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi at an event in Parliament.
The MP for North Wiltshire left guests at the bash for St John Ambulance stunned as he made the remark on stage, the MailOnline reported.
Mr Zahawi – who was then the minister for rolling out the vaccine – is said to have confronted the veteran Tory about his comments afterwards.
Mr Gray has denied making the remark.
The row erupted on September 8 this year, when Mr Gray threw a party in Parliament to thank St John Ambulance staff for their hard work during Covid.
He was ‘commander’ at St John at the time.
But as he introduced Mr Zahawi to the stage, he accidentally described him as health minister.
A source told the website: “Gray introduced Mr Zahawi to the stage as the Health Minister at the reception and made the remarks when corrected.
“He told the people in the room ‘They all look the same to me’.
“He acknowledged to the audience that his comments weren’t appropriate but in a low-key, jokey way.”
Around 50 guests – including Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – had been watching Mr Gray onstage.
An eyewitness said Mr Zahawi immediately had a private conversation with Mr Gray following the remarks.
A Tory Party spokeswoman said: “These comments were misjudged. We do not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind.”
Last night, St John Ambulance reportedly asked Mr Gray to stand down from all charity activities with immediate effect.
It 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.”
Mr Gray told MailOnline he had not said ‘They all look the same to me,’ but admitted confusing the two men with each other. He added they were also close, long-term friends of his.
He denied being racist and added: “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’.”
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