Tufton to return - Former MP heads back to politics next month
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
Former deputy leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Dr Christopher Tufton, has dismissed claims that he is demanding a safe seat if he is to represent the party in the next general election.
Tufton has also shrugged off suggestions that he was eyeing a switch to the People's National Party (PNP).
"I am still a member of the JLP and still see it as an important vehicle for change," Tufton told The Sunday Gleaner late last week.
"The extent to which my role is important is determined by the critical functionaries within the party, is the extent to which I think we should engage in a discussion to define that role," added Tufton who walked away from active politics late last year.
He said the break did not mean that he had abandoned the JLP. According to Tufton, he took a year's leave, in the hope that tensions emerging from the leadership contest between leader Andrew Holness and Audley Shaw would ease.
According to Tufton, when his respite ends next month, he will assess the state of affairs in the hope of working with Holness to advance the JLP's fortune.
BITTER LEADERSHIP RACE
Tufton supported Shaw in the bitter leadership race last November, and was dumped from the Senate, along with Arthur Williams, by Holness after he retained the party's top prize.
"After the leadership race, with all the heat and the issues involving the Senate, and my resignation, I had written to the chairman of the party and copied to the leader and general secretary, requesting a year off," said Tufton.
He stressed that he felt at the time that it was important to take a sabbatical as the controversy surrounding the election and the Senate issue was creating too much dislocation within the JLP.
"I felt that if I took myself away it would allow some time for healing," said Tufton. "That year ends next month and I, therefore, need to re-engage, weigh my options and determine how best the party can use me going forward.
"We all have to decide what we want, both the party and I. I believe that together we can be much stronger, and a united party is the most lethal to deal with the opposing party."