A TORY MP has been forced to apologise after suggesting that “a bomb” should be sent to a member of Labour’s shadow cabinet.

James Gray, who has represented North Wiltshire for the Conservatives since 1997, made the comment about Anneliese Dodds in a Whatsapp exchange with other MPs.

Reports in the Daily Mail say that a “number of female MPs” plan to raise the comment with Tory HQ given its reference to violence against women and the context of the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel in 1984 which killed five.

That bombing was targeted at the Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher and others attending a political conference in Brighton, where Dodds is currently attending a Labour conference.

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Gray’s comment came after Rob Largan, the Conservative MP for High Peak, asked colleagues in a Tory WhatsApp group: “Does anybody know where Anneliese Dodds' Commons office is based? I need to deliver something to her office.”

Gray replied: “A bomb, perhaps?”

The Tory MP later said that he regretted sending the “foolish remark”, which he has since deleted.

He added: “I meant no offence and hope none was taken.”

However, another Conservative MP told the Daily Mail: “I know many Conservative women MPs were very upset by the comment.

“Bombs around conference season bring back very bad memories for anyone in politics.”

Dodds is currently Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, having also been the party’s shadow chancellor.

She previously called for a Parliamentary Standards investigation into Gray, after it was revealed that he had been paid to train corporate clients before they made appearances at Westminster select committees.

The MP had refused to clarify which witnesses he coached and for which committee appearances, and also refused to say if he had approached committee members on behalf of his clients.