Former Glasgow MP Jimmy Wray dies at 78

Jimmy Wray. Picture: TSPL
Jimmy Wray. Picture: TSPL
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JIMMY Wray, the former Scots MP who campaigned against the scourge of drugs and knives in communities, has died following a long illness. He was 78.

Wray served as MP for Glasgow Provan and Glasgow Baillieston for 18 years. He stepped down in 2005 after a stroke and is survived by his four children.

Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader, said: “I remember Jimmy fondly for his personal kindness and generosity but most of all for his love of the Labour Party, which he served with distinction for a great many years.

“Even after he stepped down as an MP, he continued to support the party in any way he could.

“Jimmy was a formidable man, growing up in the Gorbals and known to be a good boxer. He never forgot his roots and used his experience to fight hard for those who needed someone to speak up for them.”

Wray was elected as a councillor to the then Glasgow Town Council in 1964 for Kelvinside, and later moved to the larger Strathclyde Regional Council in 1975 for Gorbals.

During his career in the House of Commons, he was a vocal advocate of the needs of his constituency and fought against the prevalence of drugs and knives.

A former coalman and one of a family of nine born in a slum in the Gorbals, Wray was a member of the Socialist Campaign Group.

He was a eurosceptic and also an opponent of abortion and the repeal of Section 28, which related to the teaching of issues surrounding homosexuality in schools.

Wray’s age is a matter of dispute in death as in life.

Labour announced his age yesterday as 75 but said there was no documentary evidence to support this.

Scotland’s People has no record of a James Wray born in 1938, but there is one for someone of that name in 1935.

During a defamation case against a London newspaper in February 2000, which was found to have falsely claimed he had beaten his first wife, he caused a stir by declaring his age as 64 when his date of birth was listed as 28 April 1938 in records at the time, making him 62.

When questioned at the time he said the discrepancy was probably down to a “researcher’s error”.