David Ruffley - MP for Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market


IFS Green Budget

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has published its ‘Green Budget’ today. It reveals that taxes have gone up by £40 billion since 1997. That is a total of £1,300 for every family in the country. Since 2005 Gordon Brown has announced £6 billion of new tax increases but what do we have to show for it? The NHS is in financial meltdown and our prisons are bursting at the seams. To make matters worse the IFS predicts that the tax burden will increase by £13 billion over the next five years – that is the equivalent of £422 for every household.

In his 10 budgets since becoming Chancellor Gordon Brown has shown an insatiable desire to raise taxes and has demonstrated little sympathy for average families who are already struggling under the burden of soaring fuel bills, interest rate rises and inflation.

Of course the Treasury has disputed the IFS’s findings stating the figures are ‘incorrect and that it is ridiculous to suggest families are worse off’. But the IFS is a highly respected body once described as ‘an institution that is rigorous in research, proudly impartial and objective in analysis’. The person that said that – Gordon Brown MP. We will find out in March if he has listened to their advice.

Posted in Gordon Brown on 31 January 2007 by David Ruffley


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened in Paris yesterday to decide on the final wording of its Fourth Assessment Report – the latest definitive document of climate science. The IPCC’s report, which is published on Friday, is likely to state what many of us have come to believe – that human induced climate change is happening and needs to be addressed.

The meeting comes as the World Glacier Monitoring Service has stated that glaciers are shrinking at three times the speed they were in the 1980s. Their latest survey shows that their sample glaciers became 60 – 70cm thinner during 2005. Wilfried Haeberil, World Glacier Monitoring Service Director, has warned that we are likely to enter conditions which the world has not seen in the last 10,000 years, and conditions that mankind has never experienced.

The threat of global warming is real, it is here and it must be tackled. David Cameron has done us all a great service by bringing the green agenda to the forefront of the political agenda. Politicians in Westminster and across the globe must unite in the fight against global warming. There is perhaps no greater threat to our planet’s future.

Posted in Climate Change on 30 January 2007 by David Ruffley


Licensing law U-turn

The Government has finally come out and admitted what many of us have known for months – its new licensing laws are a shambles.

Since the Government amended the licensing laws in November 2005, 3,000 premises have been given permission to serve alcohol 24 hours a day. Across the UK only 20 percent of premises can not open after 11pm, while only half are shut by midnight.

Now Tessa Jowell is about to tell local councils that there is ‘no general presumption in favour of lengthening licensing hours’. If only this had been said in November 2005 we all could have been spared a lot of trouble – 90 percent of pubs and clubs have already secured later opening hours and this guidance will not be retrospective.

I’m sure Suffolk residents particularly in the town centre of Bury St Edmunds will want to know how this will affect their quality of life. We’ll have to keep an eye on this.

Posted in Licensing laws on 29 January 2007 by David Ruffley


John Reid

John Reid entered the Home Office last May speaking as if he was Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. He said the Home Office was ‘not fit for purpose’ and that he was the man to clean it up. Yet all we see is the same old incompetence. The days when John Reid could lay everything at the door of Charles Clarke have long since run out. Quite simply he is responsible and if anyone’s head should roll it should be his.

Earlier in the week Reid said that due to overcrowding judges should only jail dangerous and persistent offenders. A few days later we see the result - Judge John Rogers QC, acting on the Home Secretary’s advice, gave Derek Williams a suspended sentence for downloading child pornography. Even Mr Williams was surprised by the leniency of the sentence stating he ‘was lucky to be out’! When convicted criminals start questioning why they are not being locked up the Home Office really has hit rock bottom.

One of the few people to be talking any sense on this matter is David Davis. David has said that protecting the public is the most important issue. I couldn’t agree more. It is ridiculous that sentences are being decided by prison capacity and not the offence committed. If prisons are full then the Home Office should be looking at viable solutions such as opening up Army prison camps or prison ships. If people are a threat to the British public then they must be taken out of circulation. No excuses.

Posted in The Home Office on 26 January 2007 by David Ruffley


The State of the Union

It's pretty depressing to see that the current President of the United States has poll ratings on a par with Richard Nixon the week before he was kicked out of the White House in disgrace. It says an awful lot about the popularity of the Iraq war in America. After a thumping in the congressional elections in the autumn and with only a couple of years left in office George Bush looks a lame duck.

Having a weakened President is not good for world peace that’s why everyone’s mind is looking to the Presidential election and the intriguing prospect of the first black Democrat President, Barack Obama, or the first female Democrat President, Hillary Clinton. Both of these candidates are seen by American friends of mine as having a great chance of winning the Presidency. We all know coalition forces are under the cosh in Iraq. We know Palestine is still as big a headache as ever but what exactly would a new President of the United States do?

It seems George Bush is holed below the water-line and on his way out. I wonder what the new solutions and approaches will be from his successor.

Posted in The USA on 24 January 2007 by David Ruffley


The Army Air Corps

I’m privileged to have in my area RAF Honington and RAF Wattisham. These are most famous for, in particular, the RAF regiment and the Army Air Corps at Wattisham.

Many of these serving men, women and their families, who live within the heart of our community, face special challenges in times of war.

These brave men and women from our locality have served with distinction in the Middle East and Bosnia. Many have also served and will be serving in Afghanistan.

They put themselves in harms way on behalf of us all. No praise is high enough for what they do in our name.

I felt a twinge of pride – in the cliché I felt proud to be British – when I saw the footage of an Apache Helicopter going into a den of jihadists in Afghanistan to rescue fallen Marine comrades. The two soldiers strapped onto the side of the Apache were very brave.

Wattisham is the home of Britain’s Apache force. The Army Air Corps pilots fly dangerous missions in the Apache fearlessly and it is an honour to have them in our part of Suffolk.

Posted in Armed Forces on 23 January 2007 by David Ruffley


Gordon Brown in India

It is interesting to see Gordon Brown talking as if he is the next Prime Minister about world issues, Mahatma Gandhi, security and the environment.

He is obviously talking about the right issues but I’m not convinced he is completely at ease with himself in his new role as world statesman. To my mind words like that sound more convincing in the mouth of a young politician who is more 21st Century.

Having challenged Gordon Brown face to face for several years on the Treasury Select Committee I must confess I never heard him express any enthusiasm about the green debate and environmental taxation. His new found enthusiasm does not quite ring true. He is a bit of a Gordon-come-lately to this issue.

I think that the most striking thing is how completely bemused he was when asked about Big Brother. National Journalists who I know were convinced he had never watched it and did not understand why the Big Brother row had caused such a storm.

If Gordon Brown is to be the next Prime Minister, as he himself believes, he needs to get out of the 20th Century and into the 21st.

Posted in Gordon Brown on 19 January 2007 by David Ruffley


The Big Brother row

I never thought I'd say this but Big Brother has actually made a serious point about the way we live now in Britain.

The row about racism that has exploded this week into a major diplomatic incident should remind us of the social responsibility we all have to respect other people and use language that is not disrespectful to others - no matter what their race, colour, creed or faith.

I've never been very impressed by the housemates in the Big Brother house over the last several years. The current bunch seem a rather sad lot of losers and the way the have behaved to an Indian housemate, Shilpa Shetty, just confirms that view.

Posted in Television & Radio on 18 January 2007 by David Ruffley