Mike Tuffrey says he will run for Mayor of London

Interviewed by the BBC today, London Assembly member Mike Tuffrey said he is throwing his hat into the ring to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor:

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  • Phew!

  • Phew x two. At least there’s one credible candidate in the race, now.

  • Simon McGrath 12th Jun '11 - 8:20pm


  • Personally I would prefer Lembit Opik takes this on. It is critical that we have a candidate with name recognition and has the record of supporting liberal values which are at the heart of our party. Aditionally Lembit is a powerful public speaker and will be good in debates. He has the stature to go head to head with Ken and Boris and has first name only recognition. When I was campaigning with Lembit in a council by election in Peckham it was great to see the positive reaction on the doorstep. He has been pursuing this for a year and is dedicated to the task we should pick him for this role.

    Ed Joyce

  • I agree, Lembit has far better name recognition and appeals to a broad range of people.

  • “Notice to Lembit4London supporters re Mike Tuffrey’s candidacy

    It is now certain that Mike Tuffrey will be standing for the Lib Dem nomination for London Mayor. This was announced today (Saturday) in Sutton. I have talked to Mike and this is not embargoed. This is because it is being broadcast on the Politics Show at noon and it is thought to be for the good of the party that as many people watch it as possible. I would encourage all supporters to comment politely on blogs such as Lib Dem Voice.

    Ed Joyce
    Campaign Manager

    Posted on Lembit Opik’s facebook page & website yesterday. I assume the Ed Joyce above doling out the praise is the same Ed Joyce as the one above.

  • This is good news. I’ve known Mike since we were officers together in the Durham University Liberals over thirty years ago. He has in-depth knowledge of London having served on the old GLC, Lambeth Council and now the GLA. Mike is also used to dealing with Johnson and Livingstone. He is a serious candidate for a serious role.

  • London says “who”?

  • Oh no. Mike Tuffrey is an excellent Assembly Member but his name recognition is AWFUL. The fact is, whether you like it or not, the London Mayoral election is all about a high profile personality contest. If we get Mike as our candidate, competent as he is, we will simply not be able to stand up to the Green Party candidate and most likely be beaten into fourth place. If we choose this ‘grey man’ for the job, we can say goodbye to being seen as a party to compete with Labour and Conservatives, who both have high profile pseudo-celebrity candidates.

    I do, however, welcome the opportunity for a proper election now with a good debate (hopefully).

  • The problem with Lembit is that, although he does have name recognition, it tends to be “that idiot Lembit” rather than of a positive variety. With both Boris Johnson and Ken Livingston, they at least had (in Ken’s case) a record in London, and (with Boris) a presence within the Tory party. It’s really that lack of a positive association that’s the problem.

    From a party point of view, too, given that Lembit managed to lose a seat which, barring 4 years between 1979 and 1983, had been Liberal / Liberal Democrat since 1880, it’s not exactly a great message!

  • Mike was always extremely supportive and helpful when I was a Lib Dem Lambeth Councillor from 2006-2010.
    He would be a great choice to be the party’s Mayoral candidate.

    Rob Banks

  • In response to the point raised about the reasons for the loss in Montgomeryshire the details need to be considered.

    Lembit’s issues in Montgomery were linked to a problem where the Welsh Assembly Member was involved in an issue with a paramedic. I don’t blame Mick Bates entirely, there are small demographic issues of gentrification that are seen in many seats, but it was very unhelpful that Mick got into an ‘unfortunate drunken fracas in Cardiff’. Now I understand he is to be ‘expelled from the party’.

    There is only heresay evidence that it was a personal vote against Lembit and I don’t find it convincing. The evidence, especially the numbers, point to Mick Bates (who most people who blame Lembit for the result have never heard of) as the problem. This is because the problem of falling support affected all candidates in the Montgomershire constituency. If Lembit was the issue why did Wyn Williams not win in 2011 ? In fact he did worse than Lembit relative to the performance in seats where we had the AM and MP

    Lots of people offer heresay evidence but no numbers. Actually Lembit’s result was the best of the elections in 2009 (Euro) , 10 (General) and 11 (Assembly) in the seat. Obviously you can find hostility to Lembit and there is also support. The question is whether there is any statistical evidence that there was an anti Lembit vote as a result of his profile: there is none.

    In a previous thread a commentator stated

    “If Montgomeryshire generally was doing poorly and acutally Lembit was a popular figure who boosted our vote in 2010 wouldn’t you expect that the vote decline between 2010 and 2011 would be more marked than in other comparable seats?”

    As suggested I would expect statistically the vote decline to be marked in Montgomeryshire because Lembit was adding to the vote in the constituency.

    There were two other seats where we held the assembly seat. Cardiff and Brecon – in both cases we have the MP. In the General Election in Brecon we scored 46.2% and in the Assembly we scored 43%. The drop was 7% of the votes scored. In Cardiff the drop was 9% In the General Election in Montgomeryshire we scored 37.8% with Lembit and 33.6% in the Assembly. This was a drop of 11.2%. Lembit’s result was the best when comparing the AM and GE elections. I calculate that Lembits profile was worth about 500 additional votes. I think that if we had put another candidate into the constituency then the GE vote would have been below 12,300.

    What happened when Lembit lost was that people nationally were unaware of the Mick Bates affair but aware of Lembit’s profile. They put two and two together and assumed that it was Lembits profile that lost us the seat. Many were expecting that we would hold the AM seat because Lembit was not standing. Unfortunately for us the problems ran deeper and the underlying causes that caused Lembit problems also caused Wyn Williams the assembly candidate to lose.

    Its easy to find heresay evidence to blame Lembit but also easy to find the reverse. The numbers point to an underlying problem in the constituency and to the fact that Lembit helped prevent an even worse result – a result that was seen in its worst form 2011.

    Lembit was selected for the seat of Montgomery because of his strong electoral record in Newcastle where he converted a marginal seat to one with a majority of 1300. He also increased the majority in Montgomeryshire from 5209 to 7173 prior to the Bate’s affair.

    We should look at the deeper detail of what happened in 2010 before jumping to unjustified concclusions.

    The numbers are below to save people looking them up.

    Ed Joyce

    Conservative Glyn Davies 13,976 41.3 +13.8
    Liberal Democrat Lembit Öpik 12,792 37.8 -12.5
    Plaid Cymru Heledd Fychan 2,802 8.3 +1.3
    Labour Nick Colbourne 2,407 7.1 -5.2
    UKIP David W L Rowlands 1,128 3.3 +0.4
    National Front Milton Ellis 384 1.1 N/A
    Independent Bruce Lawson 324 1.0 N/A
    Majority 1,184 3.5
    Turnout 33,813 69.4 +3.1

    Conservative Russell George 10,026 43.7 +13.6
    Liberal Democrats Wyn Williams 7,702 33.6 -5.4
    Labour Nick Colbourne 2,609 11.4 +4.5
    Plaid Cymru David Senior 2,596 11.3 -2.5
    Majority 2,324 10.1
    Turnout 22,933 47.2 +0.3
    Conservative gain from Liberal Democrats Swing 9.5%

    Liberal Democrat Roger Williams 17,929 46.2 +1.3
    Conservative Suzy Davies 14,182 36.5 +1.9
    Labour Chris Lloyd 4,096 10.4 -4.5
    Plaid Cymru Janet Davies 989 2.5 -1.1
    UKIP Clive Easton 876 2.3 +0.4
    Green Dorienne Robinson 341 0.9 +0.9
    Christian Jeffery Green 222 0.6 +0.6
    Monster Raving Loony Chris “Lord Offa of the Dyke” Rogers 210 0.5 +0.5
    Majority 3,747 9.6
    Turnout 38,845 72.5 +3.0
    Liberal Democrat hold Swing -0.3

    Liberal Democrats Kirsty Williams 12,201 43 -9.2
    Conservative Chris Davies 9,444 33.3 -0.3
    Labour Chris Lloyd 4,797 16.9 +8.2
    Plaid Cymru Gary Price 1,906 6.7 +1.2
    Majority 2,757 9.7
    Turnout 28,348 52.9
    Liberal Democrats hold Swing -4.5

    Liberal Democrat Jenny Willott 14,976 41.4 -8.4
    Labour Jenny Rathbone 10,400 28.8 -5.5
    Conservative Karen Robson 7,799 21.6 +12.3
    Plaid Cymru Chris Williams 1,246 3.4 -0.1
    UKIP Sue Davies 765 2.1 +1.1
    Green Sam Coates 575 1.6 +1.6
    Trade Unionist & Socialist Ross Saunders 162 0.4 +0.4
    Monster Raving Loony Mark Beech (A.K.A.- ‘The Good Knight Sir NosDa’) 142 0.4 +0.4
    Independent Alun Mathias 86 0.2 +0.2
    Majority 4,576 12.7
    Turnout 36,151 59.1 +0.0
    Liberal Democrat hold Swing -1.4

    Labour Jenny Rathbone 8,954 37.9 +16
    Liberal Democrats Nigel Howells 8,916 37.7 -13.4
    Conservative Matt Smith 3,559 15.1 +1.1
    Plaid Cymru Chris Williams 1,690 7.2 -1.1
    Independent Mathab Khan 509 2.2 N/A
    Majority 38 0.2
    Turnout 23,628 38.0 +2.0
    Labour gain from Liberal Democrats Swing +14.7

  • Excellent news I just hope Mike is selected by the party members as rewarding Lembit with another high profile role after he lost a safe seat would not send out the right signals IMHO and I fear he would be an embarrassment during the campaign as well.

  • @Rich
    “If we choose this ‘grey man’ for the job, we can say goodbye to being seen as a party to compete with Labour and Conservatives, who both have high profile pseudo-celebrity candidates.”

    Choosing a candidate because his choice of bedfellows and ability to do bushtucker challenges improved his name recognition would be plain daft. You accept Mike is an excellent assembly member yet prefer Lembit…

    Boris made the last election into a celebrity contest but now has to stand on his achievements. All I seem to remember from his last campaign was how quickly he was going to get rid of bendy buses. Well a couple of weeks ago in London on business I almost got run over by one !

    Ken, like him or loath him (and I tend to be in the I respect his open approach but would not vote for his policies group) is famous but no celebrity. Mike has some of the same credentials as Ken, good strong history of service in London meaning a good knowledge of problems etc.

    Londoners are a diverse bunch, but Ken did well in the past by being local, passionate and understanding their problems. It’s a serious job and the candidate needs to be a local, serious politician….

  • Matthew Huntbach 14th Jun '11 - 12:07pm


    If we choose this ‘grey man’ for the job, we can say goodbye to being seen as a party to compete with Labour and Conservatives, who both have high profile pseudo-celebrity candidates.

    Good, let us not join in this stupid worship of celebrity, but state firmly and clearly that we believe this is far too serious a job to be done by someone whose main qualification for it is “isn’t he that bloke off the telly?”.

    Celebrity worship is manufactured and elitist, it is the modern “opium of the people”, and we should be against it as a matter of principle. We should fight against it as our political ancestors fought against the power of aristocracy and established religion. If it is considered madness to put someone forward for this job who has spent years scrutinising the work of those previously in that job, and sane instead to put someone forward who is clueless but who tells a few jokes on the telly, well let us be mad.

  • I note Ed has repeated the claim that Lembits loss was down to Mick Bates.

    There is strong evidence that Mick signed Lembit’s nomination paper. Glynn Davies claimed so at the General Election. I don’t automatically believe everything Tory candidates say but Lembit’s campaign didn’t rebut this as untrue at the time, they haven’t when it’s been raised with them now, and if Glynn had made this claim incorrectly it would have been libellous and a criminal offence.

    If so Lembit chose to closely link his campaign to the very person that is now blamed for his defeat (at a time when the issues around Mick’s conduct were all well known). If so that is a shocking lack of political judgement.

    I also note that I can’t find any reference to Lembit have raised the Mick issue as a reason for his defeat.

  • As Hywel points out I am stating that Lembit’s loss was as a result of the actions of Mick Bates. The numbers show this to be the case. The argument has moved on to the issue of the failure of the Montgomery party and Lembit to immediately sever all connections with Mick in the period January – May 2011. I have held off issuing a statement on this because there were a number of people involved in this decision and I want to ensure that the facts are correct.

    What is evident is that neither Hywel or other commentators are disputing that the loss of the seat was as a result of the Mick Bates affair and that Lembit was an asset in the seat when compared to Brecon and Radnor or Cardiff Central, the two most comparable seats with both an AM and MP.

    Ed Joyce

  • “What is evident is that neither Hywel or other commentators are disputing that the loss of the seat was as a result of the Mick Bates affair and that Lembit was an asset in the seat when compared to Brecon and Radnor or Cardiff Central, the two most comparable seats with both an AM and MP.”

    I think a cursory look at my comment on the matter would conclude that I am disputing this claim! I think “fantasy land” and “psphelogical nonsense” are among the phrases I’ve used. I’ll concede I’m not persuading you but to claim I’m not disputing it is ludicrous 🙂

    I do note however that there are no leaflets on ElectionLeaflets.org from the 2011 Montgomeryshire campaign featuring an endorsement from Lembit – though there is one from Alec Carlile. Nor does MOntgomeryshire Lib Dems website carry such an endorsement or any report of a visit to Montgomeryshire by Lembit to support the 2011 campaign

    Now I would have thought that if there was a popular, recently defeated MP then the people organising the campaign would be keen to use his endorsement.

    Maybe you can point out any such leaflets?

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