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Thousands sign petition calling for MP to resign

More than 32,000 people have now signed an online petition calling for the resignation of the Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley.

The Conservative, has represented the town in the commons since 1997, was embroiled in scandal last week after it emerged he'd been cautioned by Police for assaulting a former girlfriend.

Calls for Suffolk MP to resign intensify

Pressure is mounting this evening on Bury St Edmunds Conservative MP David Ruffley to resign after receiving a police caution for an assault on his then girlfriend.

Mr Ruffley, a former shadow police minister, last night issued a statement publicly appologising for his "inappropriate action" during the incident in March.

However senior Conservatives say his apology is too little too late.

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Suffolk MP referred to Chief Whip over police caution

Michael Gove - chief whip Credit: PA

A Suffolk Tory MP who apologised after receiving a police caution for a domestic assault has been referred by the party to chief whip Michael Gove, a Conservative source has confirmed.

Former shadow police minister David Ruffley revealed in a statement that he had apologised to his former partner in relation to the incident in March, which led to him accepting a caution for common assault.

He said the woman had accepted his apology and stressed that he did not condone domestic violence "under any circumstances".

It is understood that Mr Gove wants to establish exactly what happened. He has the power to strip MPs of the party whip at Westminster if wrongdoing is found.

The party had previously responded to queries about the assault by saying that the issue "was dealt with at the time by the police", and the decision to refer Mr Ruffley to the chief whip for investigation was being seen in Westminster as a significant development.

David Ruffley's apology "Far too little, far too late"

The former vice chairman of the Conservative Association of Bury St Edmunds said in his opinion David Ruffley had to stand down as the town's MP.

Simon Pott has known Mr Ruffley for 17 years and said the MPs apology had been "far too little, far too late". He said his position was genuinely untenable.

Police chief voices his concerns over behaviour of MP

Tim Passmore

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner has also voiced his concerns over the behaviour of David Ruffley.

Tim Passmore said such behaviour was "inexcusable". In a statement, he said:

It was particularly disturbing for me to hear that one of our Suffolk Members of Parliament accepted a police caution for a domestic abuse offence which, I understand, took place in London a while ago. I would like to make it absolutely clear that domestic abuse is never acceptable under any circumstance. The future of David Ruffley as a Member of Parliament and prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for the Bury St Edmunds constituency is a matter for their association but I hope I have made my views entirely clear - such behaviour is inexcusable. Those of us in a leadership role in society must do our level best at all times and try to set a good example to others in what we do and how we behave - that includes all politicians regardless of any party affiliation.

In my opinion there cannot and must not be any hiding place for the perpetrators of such brutal crimes."

– Tim Passmore

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Pressure mounts on MP after Dean's call for him to resign

Letter from the Dean of St Edmundsbury

The letter which sparked the calls for David Ruffley to quit as the MP for Bury St Edmunds was sent by the Dean of St Edmundsbury, Frances Ward.

In the letter the Dean says that Mr Ruffley's position is now untenable. she says:

I had received sufficient comment and concern from a wide circle of people, both within the Cathedral and through the town and county, to have arrived at the opinion that your position is untenable.

– Letter to David Ruffley

The letter goes on to question his version of events.

On Monday, on the phone, I heard your lengthy justification and defence of yourself, but I think I need to question your version of events. You tried to convince me that in the 'incident' back in March there was blame on both sides... I cannot let you try and tell me that it was only 'a little local incident' or that she was at fault. I must remind you of the seriousness of the assault and that you were arrested, not her.

– Letter to David Ruffley

The letter goes on to urge the MP to seek professional help and to "come to terms with his behaviour". The letter ends by saying it was her belief that Mr Ruffley had lost the confidence of a significant proportion of his former supporters.

MP apologises for "Inappropriate action"

The underfire MP has responded to calls for his resignation Credit: ITV News

A Suffolk Tory MP has apologised for his "inappropriate action" after being given a police caution for common assault following an incident between him and his former partner.

Former shadow police minister David Ruffley said his partner had accepted his apology for the March incident.

The Bury St Edmunds MP stressed that he did not condone domestic violence "under any circumstances".

In a statement issued through his lawyers Kingsley Napley, Mr Ruffley said:

In March this year, an incident occurred between me and my former partner, resulting in inappropriate action on my part, which I deeply regret, in respect of which I accepted a police caution for common assault. Some time later, I telephoned my former partner to apologise. I am pleased to be able to say that she has accepted my apology. I have refrained from making any public statement on this matter as it is a deeply personal matter. It is my understanding that my former partner wishes the incident to remain private." I wish to stress that I would never condone domestic violence under any circumstances."

– David Ruffley

His local Conservative association is reportedly due to meet to discuss the issue next week amid suggestions he is losing support in his Bury St Edmunds constituency.

Suffolk MP David Ruffley faces crisis meeting following assault caution

David Ruffley. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The MP for Bury St Edmunds, David Ruffley, faces a grilling by his local conservative association after he was cautioned for a reported assault on his former girlfriend.

Mr Ruffley has been the town's MP since 1997. He was given the police caution after officers were called to an address in London in March.

So far the former shadow police minister has not commented publicly on the incident.

His local conservative association are due to hold a meeting with him next week to discuss the issue.

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