UK & World News

  • 29 July 2014, 2:17

Tory MP Steps Down After Girlfriend Assault

Conservative MP David Ruffley will step down at the next election after being given a police caution for assault.

Mr Ruffley said earlier this month that his former girlfriend had accepted his apology after the "inappropriate action" and stressed he did not "condone domestic violence under any circumstances".

However, police and church leaders, support groups and local politicians had all called on him to quit after news of the of the assault in March emerged.

An online petition calling for Mr Ruffley to resign collected 41,000 signatures.

In a letter to the local Conservative Association, he said the "protracted media debate" over his private life would not serve the interests of the party.

"Sadly, although I have apologised for a very regrettable incident last March and both my former partner and I considered the matter closed, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that a protracted media debate on my private life, whatever the motivation or however misinformed, would not serve the wider interests of the Conservative cause in East Anglia," the former shadow police minister said.

"Nor at a human level am I prepared to continue to sustain the unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into my personal life."

The issue was raised with Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove in a letter from the Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral in the MP's Suffolk constituency, which described Mr Ruffley's position as "untenable".

A statement from Mr Gove on Monday said: "David Ruffley MP has given a huge amount to Parliament both on the Opposition Front Bench and as an outstanding member of the Treasury Select Committee.

"I am sorry that he will be standing down at the General Election in May 2015, but fully respect his reasons."

Mr Ruffley has represented Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk since 1997.

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