Vice-president of the New Democratic Party (NDP), St. Clair Leacock, says there is “absolutely no truth” to rumours that he will challenge Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace for leadership of the NDP at the party’s convention later this year.
“And I will go further, it is important for the New Democratic Party at this time that we consolidate our gains. Mr. Eustace remains in office, he leads the party into election, secures not only leadership of the party and East Kingstown seat, but that he also succeed in propelling us into government,” Leacock told I-Witness News on Thursday.
Asked if he could consider a run for the party leadership after the next general elections, constitutionally due in 2015, Leacock said,
“I am already in the leadership of the New Democratic Party — very much in the leadership.”
Asked about his ambitions to be at the head of the party, the Central Kingstown representative said this could depend on circumstances.
“If circumstances in politics require that I be at the top, and that I have the support of Mr. Eustace and my colleagues, so be it. But, as to whether I am going to instigate or initiate any course of action that will challenge Mr. Eustace’s leadership, that’s not on my radar,” he further said.
Leacock was elected to Parliament during the 2010 general elections and called for “fresh leg” in a post-election speech on radio after the party fell one seat short of forming government, although it won four seats more than in 2001 and 2005.
Eustace, who has been representing East Kingstown since 1998 and has headed the NDP since late 2000, has led the party to three electoral defeats although he has maintained his seat and increased the margin of victory in each election.
Some party supporters, including NDP founder, former prime minister, Sir James Mitchell, who quit politics in 2000 ahead of an impending defeat of the NDP, has called on Eustace to step down as head of the NDP, which Sir James founded in 1975.