Anybody here seen Ruffley?

SHERLOCK Holmes donned his deerstalker and waved a magnifying glass this week as the battle for votes in one constituency began to heat up.The super-sleuth, under the instruction of Bury St Edmunds' Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates, travelled to the Conservative Association's headquarters in nearby Woolpit to hunt down Tory David Ruffley.

SHERLOCK Holmes donned his deerstalker and waved a magnifying glass this week as the battle for votes in one constituency began to heat up.

The super-sleuth, under the instruction of Bury St Edmunds' Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates, travelled to the Conservative Association's headquarters in nearby Woolpit to hunt down Tory David Ruffley.

Labour's Dave Monaghan and David Chappell, of the Liberal Democrats, said the unprecedented election-time united front was designed to highlight what they described as a Conservative “lack of visibility” during the campaign.

But Mr Ruffley, who is defending his majority on May 5, labelled the stunt as “cheap-style party politics” and said his fight this year was more vigorous than ever before.


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“We have not seen any Conservatives out on the streets and it seems the Tories have forgotten the General Election campaign. They are in a rut called immigration,” said Mr Chappell.

“This is a light-hearted way of emphasising the point and bringing a bit of humour into the election.

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“It is a serious issue in a long campaign, but we wanted to bring a sense of fun as we take ourselves too seriously all the time.

“We Lib Dems are proud of our policies and happy to promote them to electors. Perhaps Mr Ruffley doesn't feel like this about what his party is saying.”

And Mr Monaghan added: “There are three major parties in this election, but one of them is hardly visible on the campaign trail.

“I am somebody who has been involved in the constituency for a while and I question people who take the electorate for granted or are afraid of the disastrous policies which would have a disastrous affect upon the constituency.

“We have been out on the campaign trail, meeting many people and answering lots of emails and letters. We do not take the electorate for granted.

“Every vote counts, particularly when it is so close between ourselves and the Tories in this constituency.”

But Mr Ruffley, who has represented the Bury constituency for eight years, said his party had already delivered 30,000 introductory leaflets, 15,000 postcards, 20,000 focussed issue leaflets and 20,000 targeted letters to potential voters.

“This is not only old-style cheap party politics, but it is also based on a lie,” he said. “I have conducted a more vigorous campaign in 2005 than even I managed in 1997 and 2001, and I have had a full programme of visits.

“I have been on the doorstep right across this constituency with the 10 Conservative county council candidates, who have been supporting me as I support them.

“The hypocrisy of the Labour and Liberal Democrat stunt is breathtaking. I have seen fewer posters for these parties than in 1997 and 2001.

“The voters of Bury will see through this old-style garbage. It really is the most depressing thing the public can see in an election campaign.

“It demeans politics and in an insult to the intelligence of the people of Bury, Stowmarket, Needham Market and the villages.

“I work for every single vote at every single election, taking nobody for granted.

“I make no assumptions and this is the best organised, most vigorous campaign I have conducted.”

Other candidates fighting for the Bury seat are John Howlett, of the UK Independence Party, and Graham Manning, of the Green Party.

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