Following Zac Goldmsith’s resignation as Conservative MP for Richmond Park in order to force a Parliamentary by-election, the Conservatives have already announced they won’t be running a candidate against his independent re-election bid.
It’s possible the field will thin even further because three senior Labour MPs have called for their own party also to stand aside, as LabourList reports. The trio are Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jonathan Reynolds. They say:
Just months after fighting a nasty, racially divisive campaign to be Mayor of London Zac Goldsmith has triggered a by-election in his Richmond seat…
With the Tories not standing against him, the fight will come down to a two way contest between him and the Liberal Democrats, whose vote will be split with the greens and Labour.
If there is any chance of kicking Goldsmith out of Parliament, the vote against him must not be split. That’s why we think Labour should consider not standing a candidate in this by-election.
Clearly such a decision must have the support of the local CLP. Such a decision must not be imposed from above. It will also mean the Liberal Democrats understanding this isn’t a free ride. With the upcoming local elections next May there may well be seats where Labour (or possibly the Greens) could be given a clear run against their Tory opponents, with local consent.
Not only did Goldsmith bring a new low to mainstream politics with his campaign against Sadiq Khan, but he is a hard Brexiteer willing to throw hard won environmental and workplace protections down the drain despite all his talk of being green.
A little tip by the way, which this trio fall foul of. Don’t call the seat Richmond, as opposed to Richmond Park. It contains a significant chunk of Kingston and it’s a sure way both to annoy voters there and demonstrate your own lack of knowledge of the area than to talk about the seat as if Kingston does not exist.
Labour is set to stand a candidate in the Richmond Park by-election despite pleas from senior Jeremy Corbyn supporters for a “progressive alliance” with the Lib Dems.
HuffPost understands that the party will contest the seat, which has been left vacant by Zac Goldsmith’s resignation over the Government’s go-ahead for Heathrow expansion.
As the Green party announced it may not put up a contender, Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey confirmed on the BBC’s Daily Politics that “Labour will stand”. [Huffington Post]