Update: MP David Ruffley announces he will stand down at next election in letter to Conservative Association
19:48 28 July 2014
Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley, who apologised after receiving a police caution for common assault involving his former partner, will stand down at the 2015 general election, it has been announced.
David Ruffley confirmed in a letter to his local Conservative Association that he will not stand for re-election next year, saying the “protracted media debate” on his private life would not serve the interests of the party in his constituency.
Mr Ruffley also said he was not willing to continue to sustain the “unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into my private life”.
A statement from the Bury St Edmunds Constituency Conservative Association chairman, Andrew Speed, confirmed the group had been informed of Mr Ruffley’s decision.
The statement added: “ We would like to thank David for his service as our Member of Parliament since 1997, and we will continue to support him in that role until next May.
“Thereafter we wish him every success in his future career. The Association’s Executive Council will meet on the 31st July to begin the process of identifying a suitable candidate to represent the Conservative Party at the General Election.”
Mr Ruffley was referred by the Conservative Party to chief whip Michael Gove for investigation last week after he revealed his apology to his former partner.
Mr Gove said tonight he was sorry to see Mr Ruffley standing down.
The chief whip 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.”
Here is the letter from David Ruffley to Andrew Speed, chairman of the Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association, in full:
It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve the wonderful people of Bury St Edmunds as their constituency Member of Parliament since 1997. It is an area I have come to love and am proud to call my home.
I will never forget the way the constituency stood by me while I recovered from a particularly difficult period of ill health four years ago. Equally, I have been enormously grateful for the kindness and generosity of spirit shown to me in recent weeks by so many constituents and most of all for the loyal support from the tremendous members of the Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association.
However, the next General Election will be critical to our country’s future and I am absolutely committed to seeing David Cameron returned as Prime Minister at the head of a Conservative majority government. Nothing is more important.
Sadly, although I have apologised for a very regrettable incident last March and both my former partner and I consider 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. Nor at a human level, am I prepared to continue to sustain the unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into my private life.
Last September I was, as you know, honoured and delighted to be re-selected by the Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association once again to be your Parliamentary candidate at the next General Election. It is, therefore, with a very heavy heart that I wish to inform you that I will not stand again at the General Election in May 2015.
Finally, may I say how much I have appreciated your steadfast loyalty and friendship over these difficult few weeks and assure you of my own unwavering support for you and the Association in the months and years ahead.
With warmest regards,
David Rufffley MP