Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ruffley Speaks: “I Would Never Condone Domestic Violence”

David Ruffley has bowed to mounting pressure and released a statement on his caution for assaulting a woman, as the story goes mainstream on the Today programme and BBC Breakfast this morning. He says “I would never condone domestic violence under any circumstances,” presumably with the exception of when he is the perpetrator. Here is his statement in full:

“In March this year, an incident occurred between me and my former partner, resulting in inappropriate action on my part, which I deeply regret, in respect of which I accepted a police caution for common assault.

Some time later, I telephoned my former partner to apologise.

I am pleased to be able to say that she has accepted my apology. I have refrained from making any public statement on this matter as it is a deeply personal matter.

It is my understanding that my former partner wishes the incident to remain private.

I wish to stress that I would never condone domestic violence under any circumstances.”

Wonder what the woman he assaulted thinks about that.

Meanwhile, the Beeb’s Chris Mason reports that Tories at local and central level are now privately discussing his future, ahead of next week’s crisis summit. In Suffolk, Ruffley is topping the news agenda and is the only subject on this morning’s local radio phone-ins. The calls for him to go are getting louder…

See also: Gove Dragged Into Ruffley Assault Rap – Dean Tells Chief Whip Violent MP Must Resign

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gove Dragged Into Ruffley Assault Rap
Dean Tells Chief Whip Violent MP Must Resign

Michael Gove faces his first major test as Chief Whip after the Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral appealed to him over the David Ruffley debacle. The Very Reverend Dr Frances Ward has written to Ruffley, telling him “your position is untenable”, copying the letter to a number of senior local Tory figures, the Chief Whip and Lord Tebbit. Dr Ward recounts a damning conversation she had with Ruffley over the phone last week, revealing Ruffley tried to blame the victim for his violent assault:

“You tried to convince me that in the ‘incident’ back in March there was blame on both sides. When I visited ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ in March a day or so after the event and went to hug her as my usual greeting, she winced in obvious pain. She told me as a friend and her priest of the events of the evening that had led to your arrest, and how frightened she had been of your rage and violent behaviour.”

Click below to read the letter in full:

The Dean is one of the most influential figures in Bury St Edmunds, so her intervention will concern the local and central party. Greg Hands wouldn’t put up with this…

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ruffley Faces Tory Crisis Meeting as Voters Call for His Head

Bury St. Edmunds Conservative Association has brought forward a meeting of its executive from 9 September to 31 July – Thursday week. They will grill David Ruffley over his caution for assaulting a woman, unsurprisingly once again both Ruffley and the association declined to comment when approached by the BBC last night. Jenny Antill of the Suffolk Domestic Abuse Partnership, who is also a Tory county council cabinet member, has added her name to the growing list calling on him to resign:

“He is a part of a government who has stood out firmly against domestic abuse in all its forms and I think under those circumstances he really must consider his position.”

Ruffley now has nine days to come up with an explanation as to how he can be a candidate for parliament after accepting a caution for violently assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Staying silent didn’t work…

dean-ruffley

Elsewhere BBC’s Look East is now following the issue closely and the local Green Party is meeting tomorrow to consider how to make Ruffley’s behaviour an issue during the election campaign. Now the issue has spread out into wider civil society locally with the Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral having now written to Ruffley calling on him to consider his position as calls mount for his resignation. The issue won’t go away…

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WATCH: Yet More Voters Call on Ruffley to Resign

Following on from this blog’s Guy News special two weeks ago, the BBC have also vox-popped voters in Bury St. Edmunds over whether they think he is fit to remain as their MP. The verdict was unanimous:

“I think he should go.”

“I don’t think you can have somebody in that position behaving in that way.”

Significantly, top Tory councillor in Suffolk Joanna Spicer also stuck the boot in:

“I do think, given the publicity the incident has had and the issues it has raised about violence against women, that it is important that both the Conservative party nationally and locally take the earliest opportunity to make clear that they support all the policies and all the people that work in the field of domestic abuse.”

Yet still Ruffley and his local party remain silent…

Monday, July 14, 2014

And the Lord Spake Unto MPs…

And Lo!  All the MPs saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain spinning, and they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said unto Lord Bew, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, “Speak thou with us and we will hear. But do not let Guido speak with us, lest we die.” And Lord Bew said unto the MPs, “Do not be afeared, for these are the rules of public life.”

The path of the righteous MP is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of greed. Blessed is he, who in the name of integrity and public service, shepherds his constituents through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of abused children. But for them that would stray, Guido will strike down the crosshairs upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger and smite down those that would attempt to poison and destroy the honest man. And you will know my name is Guido when I lay my terrible vengeance upon thee…

Butler-Sloss Stands Down

Last week the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman insisted:

“The focus was on finding a person with the right expertise and integrity. That’s exactly what we have in Elizabeth Butler-Sloss.” 

Theresa May vowed:

 “Baroness Butler-Sloss brings with her many years of experience in the field of child protection and law, and I am confident that she will deliver the thorough, robust and independent review that I have promised.”

Today Butler-Sloss has stood down:

“I was honoured to be invited by the Home Secretary to chair the wide-ranging inquiry about child sexual abuse and hoped I could make a useful contribution.

It has become apparent over the last few days, however, that there is a widespread perception, particularly among victim and survivor groups, that I am not the right person to chair the inquiry. It has also become clear to me that I did not sufficiently consider whether my background and the fact my brother had been Attorney General would cause difficulties.

This is a victim-orientated inquiry and those who wish to be heard must have confidence that the members of the panel will pay proper regard to their concerns and give appropriate advice to Government.

Nor should media attention be allowed to be diverted from the extremely important issues at stake, namely whether enough has been done to protect children from sexual abuse and hold to account those who commit these appalling crimes.

Having listened to the concerns of victim and survivor groups and the criticisms of MPs and the media, I have come to the conclusion that I should not chair this inquiry and have so informed the Home Secretary.

I should like to add that I have dedicated my life to public service, to the pursuit of justice and to protecting the rights of children and families and I wish the inquiry success in its important work.”

Where’s Brian Leveson when you need him?

UPDATE: 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Campaigners Condemn Emergency Big Brother Powers

20140710-085131-31891338.jpg

The PM left his Lobby summer drinks party early last night to hammer out an agreement with rowing ministers over new emergency snooping legislation. This morning Cameron and Clegg announced that fast-track laws would be rushed through to allow spooks to keep snooping on our communications, after it was made illegal in the European courts. Civil liberties campaigners Big Brother Watch have condemned the move:

“It is a basic principle of a free society that you don’t monitor people who are not under suspicion. Considering the Snoopers Charter has already been rejected by the public as well as by the highest court in Europe, it is essential that the Government does not rush head first into creating new legislation.

The EU’s data retention laws privatised snooping, meaning companies were paid by governments to record what citizens were doing and retain that information for a year. We need to get back to a point where the police monitor people who are actually suspected of wrong doing and rather than wasting millions every year requiring data to be stored on an indiscriminate basis.”

Open Rights Group adds:

“The government knows that since the CJEU ruling, there is no legal basis for making internet service providers retain our data so it is using the threat of terrorism as an excuse for getting this law passed. The Government has had since April to address the CJEU ruling but it is only now that organisations such as ORG are threatening legal action that this has become an ‘emergency’. 

Not only will the proposed legislation infringe our right to privacy, it will also set a dangerous precedent where the government simply re-legislates every time it disagrees with a decision by the CJEU. The ruling still stands and these new plans may actually increase the amount of our personal data that is retained by ISPs, further infringing on our right to privacy. Blanket surveillance needs to end.”

No. 10 says the legislation will make life harder for terrorists, crooks and paedos. But it gives the state the power to access the phone and email data of everyone…

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Another Female Aide Complains to Whips Over Ruffley

Katie Pruszynski, who works in parliament as an aide to Chloe Smith, has complained to her whip about the Tories’ inaction over David Ruffley following his caution for assaulting a woman. Writing to Claire Perry, Katie warns that failing to sack Ruffley from the party “is grossly at odds with our purported moral compass”:

“I am very concerned about reports that David Ruffley MP has accepted a caution for the assault of his partner. I would like to know, as a female member of the Conservative Party and as a parliamentary member of staff, why the Party and the whips believe that it is appropriate for him to continue as an elected representative of the Party.

It seems to be an outrageous inconsistency that Nadine Dorries had the whip suspended for her appearance on a television show and Mr Ruffley, whose aggressive and menacing behaviour is allegedly not limited to this incident, is allowed to remain. While I understand that the police have concluded their involvement in the matter, I would like to state in the strongest possible terms that his continuing presence as a representative of the Party, and of Parliament, is grossly at odds with our purported moral compass.

I would like to know what message the whips think that this inaction sends to female staff and Party members, not to mention the wider female population that we are so keenly trying to convince that we, as a Party, are the best guardians of their interests?

You have campaigned passionately for the protection of children from sexualisation, and for the protection of women from domestic violence. I hope that you will be able to shine some light on the inexplicable stance on Mr Ruffley.”

Katie also calls on fellow staff members to come forward to the whips, telling friends:

“I don’t think that it is remotely acceptable that he be allowed to continue as an MP. If you feel you would like to send something similar (or know anyone who would), I am here for support in any way I can give it… I don’t believe this man represents the Party that we are trying to get re-elected to Government.”

Pressure is mounting on the Tories to deal with an issue that is clearly of growing concern to women within the party. The whips have known about it for years.

Note: For the avoidance of doubt, it was not Ms. Prusynski who leaked this…

Slap in the Face for Stan Collymore
Ex-Footballer Loses PCC Case Against The Sun

Former footballer Stan Collymore has suffered a humiliating defeat after the Press Complaints Commission ruled that they would not uphold his complaint against the Sun. Collymore accused the paper of publishing an “inaccurate and misleading” article in January this year about his infamous violent attack on former girlfriend Ulrika Jonsson, claiming the Sun “had seriously misrepresented” him, “had misled readers” and had also “engaged in harassment”. The PPC has ruled none of Collymore’s complaints have been upheld, and that there was no breach of the Editor’s Code of Practice.

On the inaccuracy complaint:

“As the article made clear that the complainant had compared his single, “open handed” strike with the harm which may have been caused by a more brutal attack, the Commission concluded that readers would not have been misled by the headline or about the basis for the newspaper’s view that the complainant had sought to “justify” the attack. There was no breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code on these points.”

On the alleged harassment:

“It was evident that a reporter had remained outside the house for a considerable period of time, but he had had no contact with the complainant or any member of the household during this period, and no request had been made for him to leave. It did not appear that he had acted in an intimidating manner and, once he had spoken to the complainant and been informed he did not wish to comment, the reporter had not persisted in questioning him… There was no breach of Clause 4 of the Code.”

You can read the original Sun story in full here

Monday, July 7, 2014

WATCH: Theresa May Announces Inquiry: Statement in Full

The Home Secretary bows to the pressure…


Seen Elsewhere

Comply or Die at Grauniad | MediaGuido
Labour Beats UKIP in South Yorkshire | LabourList
Mock the Week’s Weak Comedy | Nigel Farage
Can Jim Murphy Save Scottish Labour? | Guardian
There is Still Appetite for the Westminster Lunch | Jon Craig
Labour Turn Their Backs on Jewish Community | Dan Hodges
Chivalry is Not Dead | Laura Perrins
Jonathan Jones is a Tw*t | Iain Dale
Second Scotland Poll Suggests Labour Wipeout | Times
Paedo Probe Boss Urged to Quit | Sun
Keynesian Tories Won’t Eliminate Deficit | Tim Montgomerie


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