Friday 21 July 2017

Zac Goldsmith reclaims his seat in Parliament but not everyone is enthusiastic about his return

The Tory’s political career had been left in tatters after he was ousted from the Richmond Park constituency by the Lib Dems.

By Zaina Alibhai

The General Election has served up some surprising upheavals but none as shocking as the return of Zac Goldsmith to parliament.

The Conservative candidate managed to reclaim his Richmond Park seat after scraping to victory over the Liberal Democrats’ Sarah Olney by just 45 votes – a win that has divided the nation.

Constituents shared their disappointment and disbelief at the news of Goldsmith’s victory by one of the smallest margins in the country.

Many expressed anger at those who didn’t exercise their right to vote and Labour supporters who perhaps chose not to use their ballot to vote tactically for Olney and keep Goldsmith at bay.

Goldsmith’s decision to run as a Conservative candidate for the seat was questioned by some, given his resignation as a Tory MP in October 2016.

He objected to a third runway being built at Heathrow Airport – a move his party supported – and triggered a by-election in the Richmond Park constituency, where he’d served as MP since 2010.

He promised to never run as a Conservative candidate again until the Tories changed the stance on the airport expansion, and so ran as an independent candidate for the seat against Olney. She dealt him an embarrassing blow, beating him with 20,510 votes to his 18,638.

However, when Theresa May called the snap election, Goldsmith decided to rejoin and represent the Tories in Richmond Park, despite the fact that the party still very much backed the expansion of Heathrow.

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Goldsmith’s doomed campaign to become London mayor drew widespread criticism last year as he was accused of using divisive to gain votes over Sadiq Khan.

Nevertheless, some voters were happy to see him reclaim his place in Parliament.

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