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Local Tory Chairman Attacks "Minority Feminist Groups" Who Claim Domestic Assault MP Committed Domestic Violence

David Ruffley MP has accepted a police caution for assaulting his former partner. But the head of his local Conservative association insists this doesn't count as domestic violence.

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This is David Ruffley, the Conservative MP who accepted a police caution in March for assaulting his ex-partner at his central London flat.

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Following weeks of coverage Ruffley's case has now been referred to Michael Gove, the chief whip, who will consider what action to take.

Local Conservative politicians, women's rights organisations and even the Dean of his local cathedral have all now called on Ruffley to stand down as a result of the incident, which the Metropolitan Police describe as a "caution for common assault" following a "domestic incident".

Now the chairman of Ruffley's local Conservative association has attacked "minority feminist groups" for implying the incident counts as domestic violence.

Andrew Speed, the chairman of Ruffley's local Conservative association in Bury St Edmunds, said he does "not believe David's incident qualifies in any way as domestic abuse", according to a leaked email obtained by the East Anglia Daily Times.

"I understand why the opposition and minority feminist groups might try and make the link to DV [domestic violence] but surprised others have," he added.

In the email Speed insists that the local Conservative association does not in any way "condone domestic violence" but says the real story of the evening where Ruffley received his caution is unclear since "only two people actually know of course what happened".

Speed sent the letter to Joanna Spicer and Jenny Antill, two local Conservative county councillors who have criticised their own party's failure to punish Ruffley.

BuzzFeed has contacted all three individuals but has yet to receive a response. The local party is meeting next week to discuss the incident.

Some of the country's leading feminist groups, as well as women's refuges in Ruffley's constituency, have called on the MP to stand down.

They include domestic violence charity Refuge, who say they are concerned that Ruffley has been "allowed to retain his position" and insisted "violent men must take responsibility for their actions".

Women's Aid has also called on the Conservative party to attack, saying "a parliamentarian who admitted committing a violent crime would face strong disciplinary sanction."

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at

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