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Over 40,000 backed online petition for Ruffley to resign

Over 40,000 people have now signed an online petition calling for Tory MP David Ruffley to resign following his caution for domestic assault.

Mr Ruffley announced earlier that he would be stepping down at the 2015 general election, saying the "protracted media debate" about the incident was damaging his constituency party.

The organiser of the petition, Jo Costello, said he should resign immediately, calling it "unthinkable" that he should stay in Parliament until next year.

But Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove said he was "sorry" that Mr Ruffley had decided to leave Parliament.

""David Ruffley MP has given a huge amount to Parliament both on the Opposition front bench and as an outstanding member of the Treasury Select Committee," the former Education Secretary said.

Tory MP involved in domestic assault to stand down

A Conservative MP who accepted a police caution over a domestic assault has announced he is standing down at the general election.

David Ruffley will be standing down from Parliament in 2015.
David Ruffley will be standing down from Parliament in 2015. Credit: ITV News Anglia

David Ruffley said the "protracted media debate" about his private life would not serve the interests of his constituency party.

In a letter to Bury St Edmunds's Conservative Association, Mr Ruffley also said the incident had provoked an "unrelenting orchestrated intrusion into my private life".

Read: Tory MP apologises over assault of former partner

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Thatcher's former bodyguard 'warned her of sex party claims'

A former bodyguard to Margaret Thatcher claims he warned her one of her top aides, Sir Peter Morrison, allegedly held sex parties with under-age boys.

Barry Strevens, who is also an ex-detective chief inspector for Cheshire Police, said he passed on the allegations immediately.

Mr Strevens is the second person to claim Lady Thatcher knew about alleged sex parties involving Tory MPs.
Mr Strevens is the second person to claim Lady Thatcher knew about alleged sex parties involving Tory MPs. Credit: Reuters

But despite learning of the rumours he claimed Lady Thatcher appointed Sir Peter deputy party chairman of the Tory party. He died in 1995 but has since been linked to child sex abuse claims in North Wales.

Mr Strevens told the Sun on Sunday (£): "I am sure he would have given her assurances about the rumours as otherwise she wouldn't have given him the job."

Tory grandee Lord Tebbit has previously said he confronted Sir Peter over the allegations and received a flat denial.

A full-scale investigation into claims of an alleged paedophile ring in Westminster is now underway.

Earlier this month Ex-Tory activist Anthony Gilberthorpe also claimed Thatcher knew about alleged illicit sex parties within her party.

Read more: Margaret Thatcher 'knew about paedophile ring' in 1980s

Tory press team 'tried to keep Clarke off Question Time'

Ken Clarke has claimed the Tory press office tried to keep him away from the television cameras during his time in government, even attempting to prevent him from going on Question Time.

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Ken Clarke retired from government during last week's reshuffle. Credit: PA

"I had a great row with them [Conservative press officers] when they told the producer of Question Time that I was ill and they were able to provide a replacement," Clarke said during an interview with the Observer.

" It never occurred to them that I could ring up the producer. She said: 'I'm told you are ill.' After that, I got even more freelance."

The former minister admitted there was "constant friction" between himself and David Cameron, saying his views sometimes "didn't coincide with No 10's".

Read: Clarke says economic recovery is unbalanced and still 'fragile'

Clarke: Economic recovery is unbalanced and still fragile

Former Tory Cabinet minister Ken Clarke has questioned the strength of the recovery, claiming the economy is still "fragile".

Mr Clarke, who retired from the government in the reshuffle, said the economy is "not firmly enough rooted" in a balance between manufacturing and services, leaving it prone to shocks.

Ken Clarke said there is still a long way to go before the economic recovery is complete.
Ken Clarke said there is still a long way to go before the economic recovery is complete. Credit: PA

The former minister did however declare himself a "great fan" of Chancellor George Osborne and said the Conservatives had saved the country from calamity by reining in spending.

Clarke, 74, told the Observer that the economy still has a "long, long way" to go before sustainable levels of growth could be maintained.

The former chancellor added that Britain must break out of the "ludicrous cycle" of house price booms followed by crashes.

Read: Ken Clarke 'demob happy' at decision to leave government

Shadow minister apologises for calling Tory women 'puppets'

Shadow media minister Helen Goodman has apologised after labeling female conservative ministers as "puppets" whose most interesting asset was their taste in clothes.

Goodman dismissed complaints about newspaper The Mail's decision to print a "catwalk" spread showing outfits of women promoted in the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Shadow media minister Helen Goodman has issued an apology to female Tory ministers who she described as "puppets".
Shadow media minister Helen Goodman has issued an apology to female Tory ministers who she described as "puppets". Credit: PA

She posted on Twitter: "Mail's page on Tory women was fair: all are puppets who'll change nothing and their appearance really is most interesting thing about them."

But after facing a barrage of criticism, a full apology was issued.

"I was wrong in what I tweeted about Tory women ministers and I apologise to them unreservedly," Goodman said.

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Gove's wife tweets link to article criticising reshuffle

Michael Gove's wife Sarah Vine has tweeted a link to a Daily Mail article which criticised David Cameron's "sacking" of the former Education Secretary.

Read: New faces and big movers in the Cabinet reshuffle

Mr Gove was moved from his education post to Chief Whip in yesterday's reshuffle, with the Prime Minister claiming he wanted "one of my big hitters, one of my real stars" in the position ahead of next year's General Election.

The Chief Whip also played down suggestions he was demoted, saying: "Demotion, emotion, promotion, locomotion, I don't know how you would describe this move - though move it is."

He also claimed Mr Cameron gave him the option of staying as the Education Secretary.

More: Cameron orders Gove to act as 'minister for TV'

Cameron and Gove dismiss 'demoted job' speculation

David Cameron and Michael Gove have both dismissed speculation that the former Education secretary had been demoted, despite losing his status as a full Cabinet member and taking a £36,000 pay cut.

More: Cameron orders Gove to act as 'minister for TV'

Cameron orders Gove to act as 'minister for TV'

Prime Minister David Cameron has ordered new chief whip Michael Gove to act as "minister for TV".

The new role for the former Education secretary would be to promote the Government's message in broadcast interviews to fire up votes before the General Election.

Michael Gove was ordered by Cameron to be 'minister for TV' this week. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Mr Cameron and Mr Gove both dismissed speculation that he had been demoted, despite unions expressing glee after he lost his status as a full Cabinet member and took a £30,000 pay cut.

More: PM hails Gove as 'one of my real stars' despite move

Teachers 'cheer' at Michael Gove's departure

Some teachers reacted with glee to Michael Gove's departure from the Department for Education.

One headteacher in Guildford said his staff "just cheered" when they heard the news.

But another former Education Secretary, Lord Baker, said conflict came with the territory and it was "never easy" for a reforming Secretary of State.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports.

Read: NUT chief: Teachers 'wreathed in smiles' across country

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