TWO candidates in the North Wiltshire constituency at the general election on December 12 are going head to head again.

In 2017, James Gray took the seat in a patch which covers Royal Wootton Bassett, Purton and Cricklade with a comfortable 22,877 majority.

My Gray polled 32,398 votes, with Brian Mathew – who stands again for the Liberal Democrats – second with 9,521.

Jonathan Fisher (Labour) and Bonnie Jackson (Green Party) have entered the race this year. Their parties were third and fourth respectively last time around.

JAMES GRAY (Conservatives)

JAMES Gray was first elected as MP for North Wiltshire in May 1997. Before that he worked for P&O, as a Baltic Exchange shipbroker. He is a Freeman of the City of London.

After becoming an MP in 1997, James served on the Environment and Transport Select Committees until his shadow ministerial career began. He is a member of Mr Speaker’s Panel of Chairmen.

Mr Gray has an interest in defence and is a graduate of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and the Royal College of Defence Studies. He founded and chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces and the Armed Forces Parliamentary Trust

He is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Polar regions and serves on the No 10 Advisory Committee on the environment. He is a member of NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

James sat on the Defence Committee and the Committee on Arms Export Controls and chaired the Defence Sub-Committee on the Arctic from 2016 to 2017.

After the 2017 election, he was appointed to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.

He and wife Philippa live on a North Wiltshire farm.


Jonathan lives in Calne with his wife, a place they chose to move to six years ago.

He’s the father of five children, two of whom are now grown up and three of whom are still at school.

His family is the most important thing in his life, helping to guide and ground him.

He says: “I believe passionately in equality.

“I think everyone should have equal life chances, regardless of where they are born, who their parents are and whether they are rich or poor.

“This belief has driven my working life, so having started out as a youth worker, for the past 11 years I’ve worked in social housing.”

Jonathan’s most recent role was as a head of department with responsibility for a variety of community services.

He’s a councillor on Calne Town Council and sees this as a really great way to give something back to the town he loves.

“My goals as a town councillor have been to represent the poorest and most vulnerable, to grow our economy responsibly and to have open, transparent communication with our residents.”

Until recently Jonathan chaired a national membership body for social housing organisations called Communities that Work where he built his leadership skills.


Having grown up in Chippenham and attended university in Oxford, Bonnie Jackson worked as a corporate chartered legal executive in Bristol.

She moved back to North Wiltshire to become business development manager at a software house.

There, she gained a valuable insight into systems integration between social care and NHS organisations and saw first-hand the impact of NHS underfunding.

She lives near Chippenham with her husband Andrew and is enjoying a career break to raise her young children.

She joined the Green Party on the day the USA pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord. Bonnie was selected as a candidate in 2018. She is co-chair of the Chippenham Devizes and North Wiltshire Green Party.

She said: “I am motivated by the lack of affordable green options for those wishing to take them and by the injustice in the realisation that climate change will hit the most vulnerable in society the hardest.

“I believe The Green Party has the only vision bold enough to offer a real solution to the climate crisis, to tackle inequality and to fix our economy so that sustainable choices are available to all.”

BRIAN MATHEW (Liberal Democrats)

WITH a long history of working to alleviate the effects of poverty, Brian has spent much of the last 25 years living and working in some of the most challenging parts of the world.

His last assignment was with World Vision in East Timor, working as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) engineer and advisor helping remote rural communities build and maintain systems transforming village life.

He previously worked across Africa, from Sudan, to Guinea, Bissau and Angola, and also worked for Water Aid in Tanzania and Zambia.

Brian set up the link between the Glastonbury Music Festival and Water Aid, now one of the charity’s most important and nationally inspiring fundraising events.

In Zimbabwe, he worked with the British aid programme DFID, gaining vital insights into the UK civil service.

Brian has also experienced life in Central and South America, and spent a year researching agriculture in the Middle East while being a student at The University of East Anglia.

He gained his PhD from Cranfield University and is also very environmentally aware. He was advisor to the ‘REEF’ scheme invented by Cornish engineer Rupert Armstrong Evans.

Brian lives in Yatton Keynell and stood for the Lib Dems in North Wiltshire for the 2015 general election.