September 19 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Embattled Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley has come under fire again – this time from a former vice-chairman of his local Conservative association.
Simon Pott is also a former county councillor and has known the MP ever since he was first elected to parliament in the town in 1997.
However he now says it would be best for Mr Ruffley to stand down at the next general election after it emerged the MP had received a police caution in March for common assault after an incident believed to have involved his then partner Wendy Drew.
Mr Pott said: “I have known David for 17 years. He has been to my house and I have visited him and his then partner at home.
“I think he has been a good MP for the town, but I do not think it is possible for him to continue after this.
“He has spoken out against domestic violence in the past and then this happens.
“How can he go to a school or to a WI meeting after this? What will happen if he goes to a business meeting and asks for questions? Sooner or later someone will ask him about the incident.”
Mr Pott felt that if Mr Ruffley had made a public statement with a full explanation and apology straight away he might have been able to ride out the controversy.
But his refusal to make any comment about what had happened – and the fact that senior members of the association only found out when the story emerged in a national newspaper – meant Mr Pott felt Mr Ruffley could not longer remain an MP.
Mr Pott said he accepted the party would not want him to resign immediately and force a potentially tricky by-election.
He said: “If he just announced he would not be standing again next year it would give the party the chance to select a new candidate.”
Mr Pott emphasised he was no longer an officer and is, in fact, no longer a member of the association.
“But I consider myself to be a natural Conservative and I have talked to other people who are also natural Conservatives and feel the same way.”
We tried to call Mr Ruffley to put Mr Pott’s comments to him, but he did not answer his phone or respond to our voicemail message.