Tuffrey unexpectedly won a by-election to the Greater London Council on 11 July 1985 when he won a seat for the Liberals at Lambeth, Vauxhall from the Labour Party. The GLC was in its final months of existence and was abolished on 31 March 1986.
He returned to local government in 1990 when he won a seat on Lambeth London Borough Council as a "Liberal Democratic Focus Team" councillor for Prince's Ward. He held the seat (as a Liberal Democrat) in 1994 and held it until stepping down in 2002, serving as joint leader in a Conservative Party-Liberal Democrats coalition administration for part of that time.
When the first election to the London Assembly was held in 2000, Tuffrey was electeed as a "London-wide" member on the top-up party list system. He held the seat in 2004 and 2008. He was leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the assembly from 2006-10.
He sought to become his party's candidate for the London Mayoral election 2012 without success and ceased to be a member of the assembly.
Co-founder of Corporate Citizenship .
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- Former members of the London Assembly. London Assembly.
- Dave Hill (14 May 2011). Mike Tuffrey: A Liberal Democrat on how London should be run. The Guardian.
- "Labour's GLC majority cut in by-election". The Times: p. 2. 13 July 1985.