July 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
A Suffolk MP’s grassroots supporters will take no action after he was given a police caution for assault.
David Ruffley, a former shadow policing minister, was arrested in March after an altercation at a London flat, which reportedly involved his former partner, the Suffolk artist Wendy Drew.
Police confirmed a caution for common assault had been accepted by a 52-year-old, but the Bury St Edmunds MP has so far maintained his silence on the matter, and was not responding to emails and text messages yesterday.
But the MP was in parliament, and spoke at a regular Department for Work and Pensions question session in the House of Commons.
Andrew Speed, chairman of Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association, said: “We are sure it has been a very difficult time for both of them.
“But the incident in March was dealt with by the police at the time and no further action was required.”
The national Conservative Party also drew a line under the case, and a spokesman said: “This matter was investigated by police and dealt with by them at the time.”
Mr Ruffley had previously confirmed he was dating artist Wendy Drew, who has a studio in his Suffolk constituency.
The widow, whose late husband was the property developer Peter Drew, is best-known for her portraits, but she also paints landscapes and seascapes around Suffolk.
The Bury St Edmunds MP miraculously survived an incident at London’s Victoria Station in 2010 with minor injuries when the train passed over him and he did not make contact with the live rail.
A colleague said last night that fellow MPs had seen the new relationship as a great influence and had given the MP a new purpose.
Mr Ruffley, who was seated next to Conservative colleague Nigel Mills on the green benches in the House of Commons chamber yesterday, questioned the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith about stricter criteria for applications from foreign workers.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: “On Saturday, March 15 at around 8.50pm police attended an address in Marsham Court, Pimlico, SW1, and arrested a 52-year-old man on suspicion of common assault.
“The man was taken to a central London police station. He has since accepted a caution for common assault.”
The Suffolk MP has been an outspoken critic of domestic violence and in 2007 he wrote to then Chief Constable Alastair McWhirter to ask what the force was doing to clampdown on domestic violence.
“We must do all we can to stamp out this despicable crime which can ruin lives and shatter families,” he said at the time.
Women’s groups claim Ruffley should now quit as MP. More here.