David Ruffley

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To be distinguished from David Rutley.
David Ruffley
Member of Parliament
for Bury St Edmunds
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Richard Spring
Majority 12,380 (21.1%)
Personal details
Born (1962-04-18) 18 April 1962 (age 52)
Bolton, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Queens' College, Cambridge
Occupation Solicitor (1985–91)
Special adviser (1991–96)
Committees Treasury Select Committee
Website davidruffleymp.com

David Laurie Ruffley (born 18 April 1962, Bolton) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, which encompasses Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, having been first elected in 1997.

A solicitor by profession, Ruffley served as special adviser to Ken Clarke (1991–96). He sat on the Treasury Select Committee from 1999 to 2004, on which he was an arch-critic of Gordon Brown,[1] before becoming a whip in 2004. Ruffley served as Shadow Minister for Welfare Reform from 2005 to 2007 and Shadow Minister for Police Reform from 2007 to 2010. In 2010, he was unanimously re-elected to the Treasury Select Committee.

Early life[edit]

Ruffley was born in Bolton, in Greater Manchester. He went to the Bolton School (Boys' Division), an independent school in the town. He studied at Queens' College, Cambridge, receiving a BA in law in 1985. From 1985–91, he worked for solicitors Clifford Chance in London. He was then a special adviser to Ken Clarke, first as Secretary of State for Education and Science (1991–92), then as Home Secretary (1992–93), and finally as Chancellor of the Exchequer (1993–96). From 1996–97, he was an economic consultant to the Conservative Party and Vice President of the Small Business Bureau.[2]

During this time, he was an adviser to the Grant Maintained Schools Foundation (1993–96), as well as governor of St Marylebone School (1992–94) and Pimlico School (1994–96). He would later be a governor of Bolton School (1997–99), which he had attended himself.[2]

Ruffley sought selection for parliamentary seats, being beaten to selection in Harrogate and Knaresborough by Norman Lamont.[3] After Richard Spring was selected to fight West Suffolk, selection for Spring's former seat of Bury St Edmunds with changed boundaries, was won by Ruffley. He won by a majority of 368 in 1997, increasing this at every election since to 2,503, 9,930 and 12,380 respectively.[4] In December 2013 he was reselected as the Bury St Edmunds Conservative parliamentary candidate for the 2015 election.

Parliamentary career[edit]


Ruffley served on William Hague's campaign team in the 1997 party leadership election.[5]

Ruffley was voted onto the powerful Treasury Select Committee in 1999. He remained on the committee until 2004, and, along with Michael Fallon, 'presciently' criticised then-Chancellor Gordon Brown's handling of the economy,[6] dubbing him 'Gambling Gordon' in 2002.[7] He criticised Brown for hiding higher taxes by counting tax credits as a negative income tax,[8] citing the OECD's classification of it as an increase in spending.[9]

In the 2001 leadership election, Ruffley initially supported Michael Portillo, and publicly declared support for his former boss Ken Clarke after Portillo was knocked out in the final MPs' ballot.[5] He voted against Iain Duncan Smith in 2003.[citation needed] In the leadership election that followed the vote of no confidence in Duncan Smith, Ruffley was variously described as being a 'likely supporter' of Michael Howard[10] or a member of David Davis's 'wider [campaign] team'.[11]

On his return to the backbenches, Ruffley resumed an active role in representing his constituents. He voted against equal marriage for same sex couples [12]

Shadow Minister[edit]

With Howard as leader, Ruffley became a whip on 15 March 2004, after the resignation of David Curry.[13]

In December 2005, he was appointed by David Cameron as the Shadow Minister for Welfare Reform.

In 2006, a group that included BBC Radio Suffolk and the East Anglian Daily Times saw the failure of their programme to get St Edmund named as the patron saint of England. Ruffley had taken up the cause and helped deliver a large petition to the government in London.[14] Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected the request, but St Edmund was named patron saint of Suffolk.[14]

From July 2007 to 2010, Ruffley was Shadow Minister for Police Reform replacing Nick Herbert MP. In 2008, he took charge of reducing the safety and health burden on police officers,[15] and obtained figures showing police spent less than two-thirds of their time on patrol.[16] He said that there was an 'emerging crisis of public confidence' in the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), after 700 people were falsely accused of having criminal records in the year to February 2008,[17] and highlighted the risk posed by CRB checks to work experience.[18] He pledged to end police moonlighting, after it was discovered in January 2009 that 4,300 officers held second jobs.[19] He campaigned against speed cameras being used to 'milk' motorists of £250,000 a day.[20]

Treasury Select Committee[edit]

He was voted back onto the Treasury Select Committee in November 2010, replacing David Rutley.[21]

On the select committee, Ruffley has opposed the Payments Council's plans to withdraw personal cheques by 2018, saying that it 'scared the pants off Middle England', accusing the Council of 'rank incompetence',[22] and calling for the Council's chairman to resign.[23] He has also criticised the withdrawal of cheque guarantee cards in July 2011, saying that the public were not given sufficient warning.[24]

Ruffley has stood up to bankers appearing before the select committee, including pursuing Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond in January 2011 on whether he was 'grateful to the British taxpayer' for the estimated £100bn of benefit of the bank bailouts to the wider banking system.[25] Ruffley has opposed the Liberal Democrats' plan to give away the government's shares in Lloyds and RBS, and called for them to be sold to raise money for a cut in the basic rate of income tax.[26]

In July 2011, Ruffley supported Sajid Javid's private member's bill to limit government debt to 40% of GDP.[27]

Train incident[edit]

On Thursday, 17 June 2010, David Ruffley suffered minor injuries after jumping into the path of an oncoming train at Victoria Station, London. He missed the live rail and the train safely passed over him, inflicting only cuts and bruises. The police treated the incident as "non-suspicious".[28][29] Ruffley was reported to have been suffering from depression at the time and was granted sick leave to recover.[30] He returned to work in October 2010.[31]


  1. ^ Brady, Brian (2 October 2005). "Iron Chancellor must steel himself for luck to run out". The Scotsman. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "David Ruffley, Esq, MP". Debrett's. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Brown, Colin (20 January 1996). "Amazed Lamont wins seat at last". The Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  4. ^ These figures are a matter of record, but are included inter alia at www.politicsresources.net, the Electoral Commission website and indeed elsewhere on Wikipedia.
  5. ^ a b McSmith, Andy (1 August 2001). "Nine Portillo MPs declare support for Clarke campaign". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Letts, Quentin (9 May 2008). "Where crooks, conmen and blue-sky pseuds are shown no mercy". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Thornton, Philip (19 July 2002). "Brown warns public-sector workers that pay demands will cut cash for services". The Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Coyle, Diane (24 March 1999). "Brown hints at tax cuts still to come". The Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Brown defends Budget plans". BBC News. 22 November 2000. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  10. ^ "Key contenders for the leadership". Evening Standard. 28 October 2003. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Brown, Colin; Elliott, Francis (2 November 2003). "The week that gave the Tories a future". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "MP-by-MP: Gay marriage vote". BBC News. 5 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Curry quits the Tory front bench". BBC News. 15 March 2004. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "St Edmund, Patron Saint of Suffolk". BBC News. 18 April 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  15. ^ Porter, Andrew (10 January 2008). "David Cameron condemns 'culture of violence'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  16. ^ Hope, Christopher (6 August 2008). "Police wasting more than a third of their time on paperwork, Tony McNulty admits". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Hope, Christopher (4 July 2008). "Hundreds of innocent people 'wrongly branded criminals', by CRB checks". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  18. ^ Prince, Rosa (11 August 2008). "Work experience at risk over criminal record checks". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  19. ^ Wardrop, Murray (15 January 2009). "Tory MP demands ban on police moonlighting". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  20. ^ Whitehead, Tom; Millward, David (4 May 2009). "Speeding tickets double under Labour to earn £250,000 every day". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  21. ^ "Committee post is 'huge honour'". The East Anglian Daily Times. 30 November 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  22. ^ "Train companies stop accepting cheques". The Daily Telegraph. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  23. ^ Hope, Christopher (15 June 2011). "Cheques might not be scrapped after all". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  24. ^ Hope, Christopher; Wallop, Harry (30 June 2011). "Banks axe cheque guarantee cards on Friday – and MPs say public were not warned". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  25. ^ Clark, Andrew (16 January 2011). "MPs fail to land a knockout punch on Diamond Bob". The Observer. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  26. ^ Winnett, Robert (24 June 2011). "Banks axe cheque guarantee cards on Friday – and MPs say public were not warned". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  27. ^ Samuel, Juliet (13 July 2011). "Bill to cap UK public debt levels draws support of grandees". City A.M. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  28. ^ Geater, Paul; Jones, Brad. "Suffolk MP survives after 'falling in front of train'". East Anglian Daily Times (Archant Regional). Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  29. ^ "Suffolk Conservative MP struck by train in London". BBC News (BBC). 19 June 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  30. ^ "Suffolk MP suffering depression granted sick leave". The BBC. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 
  31. ^ "MP Ruffley returns to work after train accident". East Anglian Daily Times. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2011. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Spring
Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds