...By Lola Smith for TDPel Media.
Henry Tufnell, whose family owns a large English estate and a second home in Pembrokeshire, has been selected as a Welsh Labour general election candidate for the new seat of Mid and South Pembrokeshire.
However, his selection has raised concerns over his connection to the area, with critics questioning him over his Pembrokeshire links, especially given that he was chosen over two more well-known women.
Tufnell’s mother, who in 2021 was the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, owns the second home near St Davids, where Tufnell ran his campaign to be selected.
Tufnell’s background is atypical for a would-be Labour MP.
His father, Mark Tufnell, is the current President of the Country Land and Business Association, typically associated with some of the wealthiest landowners in the country.
He also owns Calmsden Farms, a 2,000-acre estate in the Cotswolds, and attended Eton College.
His mother, Jane Tufnell, co-founded Ruffer Investment Management Ltd and built a £20 billion assets under management (AUM) business.
Tufnell qualified as a barrister in September 2020 but no longer practises as one.
He has been working for the Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers’ Union, which is not affiliated with the TUC or the Labour Party.
Welsh Labour said that Tufnell “has a strong track record of campaigning for the Labour Party and workers’ rights and will continue to stand up for the people of Mid and South Pembrokeshire, offering a real alternative to the Tories who have let people down right across the country.”
However, there are concerns about how an unknown outsider could secure the selection, with political journalist Michael Crick posting on his Twitter account Tomorrow’s MPs that he had heard of unhappiness at how Tufnell won the selection against two well-known local contenders.
One source wrote of “lost laptop, missing postal votes, wrong membership list sent out & 167 members out of 500 voted.”
For its part, Welsh Labour said it was satisfied with the validity of the result and its own investigations showed there was no substance to the allegations made.
Some have criticised Tufnell’s connections to Pembrokeshire, with one Twitter user asking, “Do you know what Welsh people traditionally think of second homes Henry?” and another describing his selection as a “farcical” and “v questionable process.”
However, Tufnell has stated that he has been coming to Pembrokeshire since he was a child with his mother, who was born in Pontypridd and grew up in south Wales.