Ruffley Resignation Raises Recall Row

The Recall measures announced in the Queen’s Speech would mean MPs on the Standards Committee, not local voters, will decide whether disgraced politicians should be booted out. David Ruffley’s announcement last night that he would be standing down at the election shows why it is crucial that parliament passes a proper Recall bill, not Nick Clegg’s fudge. 

Who pushed the Ruffley story and forced him to fall on his sword? Not his fellow MPs on either side of the House, who were either silent or actively trying to keep him out of trouble. The people saw things differently though…

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Ruffley went mainstream because of the admirable work of women both inside and outside of the Tory party; from the Dean of St Edmundsbury’s devastating letter calling for him to quit; to the voices of women’s groups both locally and nationally, to the petition that amassed more than 40,000 signatures organised by an outraged woman. Guido understands 15 Tory women were going to publicly and openly protest Ruffley’s candidature tomorrow, some of them high profile. They were under immense pressure not to go ahead from within the party.

Ruffley will remain as the MP for Bury St Edmunds for ten months, earning more than £50,000 from his salary and pension contributions courtesy of the taxpayer when he should arguably be leaving parliament immediately. He cut a deal with the Tories and remains on board the gravy train. A Recall Bill that lets MPs decide whether their fellow MPs will face a vote is not going to work. David Ruffley shows more than ever why we need a proper Recall Bill to democratically boot out morally bankrupt politicians once and for all…

You can see all Guido’s stories about how the Ruffley story unfolded in full here.

UPDATE: 38,000 Sign Petition Calling for Ruffley to Resign

Senior members of David Ruffley’s Suffolk Tory association say they see nothing wrong with having a man who assaulted his girlfriend remain as their MP.

Do you disagree?

Then sign this petition calling for Ruffley to resign.

At the time of going to pixel over 33,000 others already have.

Add your voice here

UPDATE 5:00pm: 38,000 have now signed.

Top Tory: Nothing Wrong With an MP Who Assaults His Girlfriend

Seven million listeners will have heard Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 phone-in on David Ruffley this lunchtime, many in Bury St Edmunds. The discussion was most notable for the bizarre comments made by Bernard Sergeant, an important local Conservative figure. Asked if Ruffley should resign, Sergeant laughed and replied: “We do have these odd female organisations that look for equality and I think they’ve got it these days.” Pressed further by Vine on whether “you can have as a candidate a man who beats up his girlfriend”, Sergeant replies: “Well why not?”

Guido wondered if that is the official line, before he remembered there isn’t one…

It’s Official: Guido is a Feminist

Guido was tickled this morning by the words of Andrew Speed, the chairman of Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association, who has dismissed critics of David Ruffley as “minority feminist groups”. Guido has always believed that this is a minority feminist blog…

That said, you have to wonder what Refuge, the country’s leading domestic violence charity, think about being labelled “minority feminists”. Not to mention the growing number of Westminster staffers up in arms. Let alone the members of Ruffley’s own local party who are increasingly losing patience with their MP…

Refuge: Ruffley Must Resign

Leading domestic violence charity Refuge has called for David Ruffley to resign over his assault on his ex-girlfriend. Refuge’s chief executive Sandra Horley says she is “concerned that David Ruffley has so far been allowed to retain his position”, and demands the government “demonstrate to the public that men who abuse women will face consequences”.

“Earlier this year David Ruffley MP accepted a police caution for assaulting his former partner.  He has now expressed his ‘deep regrets’ about the incident and has explained that he has apologised to her.

Let me be clear – assaulting your partner is domestic violence, and it is a crime.  David Ruffley’s violent behaviour is all the more disappointing given that he has previously spoken out publicly against domestic violence.  Writing on his own website, he has asserted that, “One incident of domestic violence is one too many”.  Marking the White Ribbon Day campaign in 2005, he also wrote: “By wearing a white ribbon we are able to pledge never to commit, tolerate or ignore violence against women.”

Violent men must take responsibility for their actions. Apologies are all well and good, but at Refuge we know that perpetrators frequently use violence after apologising to their partners and making promises to change their behaviour.

I am concerned that David Ruffley has so far been allowed to retain his position.  This Government has stated that addressing violence against women and girls is one of its top priorities.  I sincerely hope it shows leadership on this issue by demonstrating to the public that men who abuse women will face consequences for their actions.”

Another loud, public call for Ruffley to go. The growing list of names demanding he step down will not have gone unnoticed by his association…

Bury St Edmunds Tory Association Drops Support for Ruffley

Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association is now refusing to publicly back David Ruffley as he faces investigation by Michael Gove. On Wednesday the chair of Ruffley’s local party said of his apology: “I support David’s statement”. But Guido understands that the mood among its executive hardened yesterday in the wake of growing publicity, with several members now believing his position is untenable. Tory sources describe the day’s developments as “significant”. This is reflected in the statement given by the local party to BBC Look East last night, dropping their “support”:

“We note David’s acceptance of his responsibilities, the issuance and acceptance of an apology and his expressions of deep regret.” 

Ruffley has now led the bulletin on BBC Look East for three days running, with yet more constituents telling last night’s edition he must resign. The story is on national television and radio, and appears in every national newspaper this morning. Today’s Telegraph reports he could be suspended from the House of Commons. More concerning for Ruffley’s local party is the fact the publicity around the story is growing by the day…

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

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…

Ruffley Faces Tory Crisis Meeting as Voters Call for His Head

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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…

WATCH: Yet More Voters Call on Ruffley to Resign

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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…

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…

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…

Cross Party Councillors Go After Hancock For Cover Up Costs

A cross party motion will be put before Portsmouth Council to get pervy MP Mike Hancock to cough up for the legal costs of the extensive cover up instigated by the old Liberal Democrat regime in the city, concerning his sexual harassment of a mentally ill constituent. Both the Tories and Labour are signed up to this motion that is expected to easily pass:

(f) Proposed by Councillor Alistair Thompson
Seconded by Councillor John Ferrett

The City Council is concerned at the conduct of one its former members’ who has admitted to abusing his position of trust. He has admitted to harassing a resident, making repeated unwanted sexual advances and conduct that falls below the standards expected of a Parliamentarian or a member of this Council.

Over the last four years the Council has spent tens of thousands of pounds investigating this matter, both through court and legal fees and officer time – This at a time when the Council is faced with making cuts to front line services.

The Council believes that this is an unsatisfactory situation.

The Council therefore requests the Governance and Audit and Standards Committee to do the following:

1. Instruct officers to prepare a detailed breakdown of the full costs of this affair
2. To write to all members with this information
3. To write to the former member requesting that given this unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of Portsmouth that now he has admitted to these appalling actions he might chose to repay this sum and thus ease the financial burden on residents
4. To consider legal action to reclaim these costs if he refuses.

A council source tells Guido the bill could easily reach £100,000. 

Rolf Verdict Referred to Attorney General as “Unduly Lenient”

Guido understands a member of the public has complained to the Attorney General’s Office that Rolf Harris 5 year 9 month sentence, of which he will serve three years, is too lenient. A spokesperson says:

“I can confirm that the sentence handed to Rolf Harris today has been referred to the Attorney General’s Office under the unduly lenient sentence scheme. 

“It only takes one person to trigger the process, and there is a strict 28 day time period, which means the Law Officers have until Friday 1 August to consider whether they wish to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal.”

6 months per count…

JAKE THE LAG: Rolf Harris Jailed for 5 Years 9 Months

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Harris will serve 3 years. He’ll be 87 by the time he’s out…

Ruffley: “I’m Cheerful” After Caution for Assaulting Woman

Guido bumped into a tired looking David Ruffley at the Spectator summer party last night. Given the circumstances (he has accepted a caution for assaulting his ex-girlfriend) it seemed polite to ask him how he was, “I’m cheerful,” was his surprising reply. Tension started to rise as the Tory MP then accused Guido of “inaccuracies” in our reporting, when pressed on what those inaccuracies were specifically he offered no specifics. He then went off in huff with the Sunday Times political editor. Ruffley later left Westminster’s Blue Boar bar with a leggy blonde around midnight…

Guido is reliably informed that Ruffley has gone into hack-schmoozing overdrive in the last two weeks, organising lunches with Lobby journalists, offering punchy and colourful off-the-record source quotes and briefing against fellow Tories. Indeed at last night’s bash he took journalists from several papers aside for one-on-one chats. Making himself useful to the papers is his cynically calculated way of making sure his own name stays out of them…

Report: Another Tory Guilty of Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend

Surrey Herald & News are reporting that Asif Ayub, Tory councillor for Ashford East in Spelthorne, has been found guilty of five counts of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Readers will remember Ayub as the Tory MP hopeful who described David Cameron as the Messiah at party conference in 2012. What is it at the moment with Tories and violently assaulting their girlfriends?

Tory Police Boss in Suffolk Condemns “Inexcusable” Ruffley

Tories are turning on David Ruffley, with two senior local party figures in Suffolk speaking out to condemn him for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Tim Passmore, who is the Conservative Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, says “such behaviour is inexcusable” and suggests that justice has not been done:

“Those of us in a leadership role in society must do our level best at all times and try to set a good example to others in what we do and how we behave – that includes all politicians regardless of any party affiliation. In my opinion there cannot and must not be any hiding place for the perpetrators of such crimes.”

Meanwhile Tory Suffolk County Council cabinet member and domestic violence campaigner Jenny Antill has added her voice to the growing disquiet over Ruffley’s violent behaviour:

“I cannot condone any incident of domestic abuse, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator or his or her position in society or political persuasion.”

As local Tories begin to distance themselves from their MP, not a single person has publicly defended Ruffley, and he himself has stayed silent…

See also Guy News Special: David Ruffley The Voters’ Verdict

GUY NEWS SPECIAL: David Ruffley: The Voters’ Verdict

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Guy News has travelled down to Bury St. Edmunds to ask David Ruffley’s constituents whether they think it is appropriate for a man who has accepted a caution for assaulting a woman to remain as their MP. The people have spoken, and they want a by-election…

Where is the Outrage at David Ruffley?

Guido has tried to warn the Tories, and the world, about David Ruffley’s anger management problems before, reporting on his “obnoxious” behaviour towards staff leading to bright-eyed hopefuls leaving his office in floods of tears. Let’s not forget the lawsuits and the rumours of throwing bins at staff.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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