Suffolk: Mix of relief and sorrow as MP David Ruffley announces he will stand down in 2015
PUBLISHED: 22:39 28 July 2014 | UPDATED: 06:22 29 July 2014
Conservatives in Suffolk greeted the news of Mr Ruffley’s retirement from Parliament with relief and sorrow as soon as his announcement was made public.
Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore was one of the first to turn up the heat on the Bury St Edmunds MP, making it clear that domestic abuse was never acceptable.
He said: “I am glad the matter has now been resolved and those involved can now move on.
“Domestic violence is unacceptable in any circumstances and whoever is involved and it is important that everyone understands that.
“Having said that David has been a very hard working MP for many years and that should not be forgotten.”
County councillor Joanna Spicer has known Mr Ruffley since he was first elected to fight the seat of Bury St Edmunds in the 1997 election.
She said that the news had seemed inevitable since news of Mr Ruffley’s caution had first emerged in the middle of last month – domestic abuse could never be ignored.
“This is not unexpected news and I would want to pay tribute to David Ruffley for his hard work over 17 years and held in great affection by many people in Bury St Edmunds.”
Mr Ruffley’s colleague in the House of Commons, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, said: “David has been a very good representative of Bury St Edmunds and he worked hard as a constituency MP at a time when that was not always expected by someone in a safe seat.”
County council vice-chairman Jane Storey is a member of the Bury St Edmunds Association executive, and a former member of its management committee.
She said: “I think he has made a sensible decision because it was becoming clear this was not going to go away and it would be a major problem.
“I was already getting adverse comments about it and the party’s response on the doorstep.
“It is sad because he was a good constituency MP but this meant it was impossible for him to carry on.”
The Bury St Edmunds Fawcett Society had led calls for Mr Ruffley’s departure. Eleanor Rehahn from the society said they had reservations about his departure.
She said: “We think he should go now, not wait until the election. He will still be around, still holding surgeries. How will he deal with people who bring this up?”
And Mark Ereira who has fought Mr Ruffley in several general elections for the Labour Party and – more recently – the Greens felt inevitability and sadness at the news.
He said: “I got on quite well with him personally, but he was flawed. We should have a by-election now and get it over with.”