++BREAKING NEWS : Zac Goldsmith has resigned as MP for Richmond Park

The Conservative MP for Richmond Park, Zac Goldsmith has, as expected, resigned his seat. You can view his speech in Parliament earlier today here.

More information on the by-election will appear here as we get it.

Update: Zac Goldsmith will stand as an Independent and the local Conservative party will not put up a candidate.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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  • Be interesting to see if Central Office parachute an official Conservative candidate in.

    Looks like Teresa’s honeymoon well and truly over.

  • Richard Whelan 25th Oct '16 - 7:29pm


    Please make sure the by-election HQ is as wheelchair accessible as possible. It will exclude a whole lot of activists like me if it isn’t.

    Richard Whelan

  • Ian Patterson 25th Oct '16 - 7:38pm

    Tories not contesting by election.

  • Looking forward to LDs not running a candidate either, a la David Davis!

  • Paul Murray 25th Oct '16 - 8:06pm

    So Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP stands down in protest against the LHR decision. And Zac Goldsmith, Independent candidate stands in the resulting by-election unopposed by the Conservative Party?

    This is pure posturing by Goldsmith at the public expense. If he wants to force a by-election then since he’s such a rich boy he should pick up the tab.

  • Alex Macfie 25th Oct '16 - 8:16pm

    We need to put up a candidate and beat Zac Goldsmith to hold him to account for his disgraceful Mayoral election campaign.

  • Matt (Bristol) 25th Oct '16 - 8:38pm

    Completely agree with Alex Macfie — Goldsmith has postured as a liberal-minded conservative on the basis of his views on the environment (of which Heathrow is a symptom) but his mayoral campaign blew a hole in that and was part and parcel of the Tories’ increasingly grabbing at a political playbook (again) which features a combination of controlling, intrusive policies and paranoid rhetoric about outsiders — in which path May is continuing.

    If we’re claiming to be the face of a more open, inclusive Britain that can claim with honesty that it has a role on the international stage as anything other than a laughing stock (with or without the completion of Brexit) we need to be contesting this election.

  • I bet if he wins after a few years he will rejoin the Tories anyway.

  • I think if Zack didn’t stand he would be gifting the seat to the Lib Dems… And the Tories don’t want to split the vote and gift the seat to the lib Dems. The Tories know they can finish the liberals as a national party at the next election, I don’t think they’ve come all this way in order to see a lib dem revival.

    My advice to the lib dems if they fight this by-election would be:

    Don’t promise anything you’re not prepared to keep.

    Don’t merely play to the audience, don’t put anything on those by-election leaflets that you would not be happy to put on a leaflet if this were a northern council estate. And vice versa.

    Doing these two things nearly destroyed the party last time, the moment they got into national government and were found out.

  • Chris Bertram 25th Oct '16 - 8:51pm

    @Alistair – a few years? A few weeks, more like.

  • Phil Beesley 25th Oct '16 - 9:38pm

    David Davis, Haltemprice and Howden by-election, 2008? Remember the civil rights blow off?

    Labour and LibDems didn’t stand against David Davis. David Davis was the Conservative Party candidate.

  • Andrew McCaig 25th Oct '16 - 10:03pm

    I really don’t think there is any doubt we are standing in this by-election! Bookies have us 5/4 on to win! Zac is Tory through and through as shown by the fact they are not standing against him, and he voted Leave against the wishes of his constituents.. Tories have broken their promise on Heathrow and pretending to be independent does not alter that..

  • Alfred Motspur 25th Oct '16 - 10:06pm

    Undoubtedly, Zac Goldsmith will fashion his campaign in a way that promotes a vote for him as a vote against a third runway at Heathrow – a cause which will have local support and a cause which will be hard to counter.

    The challenge for the party is to convince the electorate of Richmond Park that voting for the Liberal Democrats does not mean approving of Heathrow’s third runway; in fact, it means not only rejecting the runway, but also rejecting a hard Brexit and rejecting the divisive politics which Goldsmith espoused in the Mayoral election. No to a third runway; no to a hard Brexit and no to Goldsmith’s divisive politics. Let the electorate of Richmond Park not forget Goldsmith’s campaign against Khan; as it has already been pointed out, it is this point which can most tarnish the local popularity he will enjoy with his decision to resign as an MP (alongside the fact that a vote for Goldsmith is practically a vote for the government).

    Richmond Park presents a unique opportunity for the Liberal Democrats which cannot be missed. It is a windfall to have a by-election in a pro-Remain constituency with an incumbent pro-Brexit MP, let alone in a constituency whose MP has been exposed nationally for divisive politics and whose voters strongly agree with Liberal Democrat policy on pertinent local issues. The Liberal Democrats have a strong chance of winning Richmond Park; already you are the bookmakers’ [joint-]favourite. Field a candidate and go for it!

  • markfairclough 25th Oct '16 - 10:16pm

    Alastair & Chris , I agree totally about Goldsmith rejoining the Tories soon as he dare.The Libdems must FIGHT this by-election HARD

  • Not standing against David Davis was a mistake. Why did we facilitate his exercise in gesture politics?

  • @Alfred “The challenge for the party is to convince the electorate of Richmond Park that voting for the Liberal Democrats does not mean approving of Heathrow’s third runway; in fact, it means not only rejecting the runway, but also rejecting a hard Brexit”

    But are the totally committed to stopping a third runway? I was told on another thread that the lib dems respected Brexit and we’re working towards implementing it. You can’t give a different group of voters in another area a different message and bringing on another 2015 result. Are the lib dems really totally committed to blocking the runway and Brexit no matter what?

  • Has Goldsmith resigned from the Conservative Party? If not, he is still a Tory, whatever he chooses to call himself on the ballot-paper.

    There is plenty of ammunition that can be used against this papa fils: his right-wing politics, his colossal wealth (almost none of which he has earned himself), his elitist John Aspinall inspired environmentalism, his support for Brexit (just like his father), his work shy past, his willingness (as the grandson and great-grandson of immigrants) to play the race card against Sadiq Khan. Not to mention the causing of a wholly unnecessary Parliamentary by-election at public expense.

    Go for it!

  • Denis Mollison 25th Oct '16 - 10:56pm

    “Are the lib dems really totally committed to blocking the runway and Brexit no matter what?”

    I hope so. If we want to maintain our environmental credentials we should be against new runways at either Heathrow or Gatwick. If we want to maintain our internationalist (and environmental) credentials we should be implacably against Brexit.

  • Alfred Motspur 25th Oct '16 - 10:58pm

    El Sid,

    I certainly agree with you that it would be a mistake for any Liberal Democrat candidate to pledge to vote against Brexit “no matter what”. I was outraged by the knee-jerk reaction of the party to the Brexit vote – Liberal “Democrats” should support the democratic process and accept that a majority voted in favour of Brexit when the country had the chance to vote. So I believe that Liberal Democrat parliamentarians should not vote in favour of remaining in the European Union if such a vote should come to Parliament – unless there is a significant shift in opinion polling or circumstances.

    This does not mean, however, that the party should not be a progressive voice to seek the best Brexit deal – preferably one that retains access to the Single Market and EU migration.

    So I agree with you that there should certainly be no Liberal Democrat campaign against Brexit – even if this would be convenient in a pro-Remain constituency. This is why I specifically talked about, as you quoted me, a campaign against “hard Brexit”. The Liberal Democrats can and should pledge never to vote in favour of a hard Brexit unless this is specifically approved at the ballot box by UK voters in another referendum. Again, this does not mean voting in favour of staying in the European Union; it simply means voting against hard Brexit.

    From my understanding, this was the party’s message in Witney, and one which it should advocate nationally: the Liberal Democrats are so pro-democracy that they reject an undemocratic hard Brexit, but hey are committed to delivering the country’s democratic decision to leave the European Union.

    As for the third runway – this is party policy. I’m not a member of the Liberal Democrats but I understand this policy is long-standing despite there being members who do support expansion either at Gatwick or at Heathrow. It seems reasonable, therefore, for the Liberal Democrats to pledge not to vote against established party policy – especially when there have been clear alternative proposals from the party in the past on this issue. You at least certainly oppose Heathrow more than the Tories. My question to you: why, then, bother making any promises even if they are party policy?

  • Conor McGovern 25th Oct '16 - 11:15pm

    El Sid:
    “Don’t merely play to the audience, don’t put anything on those by-election leaflets that you would not be happy to put on a leaflet if this were a northern council estate. And vice versa.”
    Completely agree.

  • Conor McGovern 25th Oct '16 - 11:16pm

    We’re the progressive voice predominantly in the south just as Labour’s the voice predominantly in the north. We need to be consistent, liberal, democratic and not repeat the mistakes of the coalition.

  • Philip Rolle 26th Oct '16 - 12:34am

    You need someone experienced – perhaps one of those who were unseated in 2015. Ed Davey? Jo Swinson?

  • David Evans 26th Oct '16 - 1:42am

    Some Bookies may have us as favourites, but without a big name candidate for the Lib Dems, Zac Goldsmith’s majority and money will be too big to overcome. It’s time for Vince to ride out one last time for the party.

  • Conor McGovern 26th Oct '16 - 1:57am

    I think it’s just got a lot tougher with the Tories not fielding a candidate, at least not in name.

  • Alex Macfie 26th Oct '16 - 6:07am

    El Sid: You do realise that we have council estates here in Richmond Park as well?

  • Alex Macfie 26th Oct '16 - 6:17am

    Alfred Motspur:

    “Liberal “Democrats” should support the democratic process and accept that a majority voted in favour of Brexit when the country had the chance to vote. “

    Democracy is a continuous process. It does NOT mean that the side that lost must “put up and shut up” or that only the views of those who vorted for the winning side matter. By your argument, we should not field a candidate in this by-election: we should “support the democratic process” and accept that a majority voted in favour of Zac Goldsmith in this constituency. By your argument, we should “support the democratic process” and not campaign against the Tories at all since they won the last general election, and the only thing we should be debating is whether this country should have “hard Toryism” or “soft Toryism”.
    Our campaigning against Brexit is PART of the democratic process. It is the only way we can hope to influence public opinion on the issue, and that is what democracy is about, in exactly the same way as opposition parties campaign against the party that won the last election.

  • Alex Macfie 26th Oct '16 - 6:20am

    “unless there is a significant shift in opinion polling or circumstances”

    how about the poll that suggested that sufficient Leave voters regret their vote to swing the vote to Remain if the referendum were held again now? That’s the thing about narrow majorities: any shift, even a small one, away from the winning side can be significant.

  • Mark Goodrich 26th Oct '16 - 6:32am

    There’s some odd comments on this thread.

    1. Obviously, we will run a full-scale by-election campaign covering not just Heathrow but other issues as well – I would have thought the looming disaster of hard Brexit, grammar schools and the failures of the local Tory council would all feature. The bookies are already making us favourites.

    2. The candidate will be Sarah Olney who was democratically selected as the PPC (http://www.rplibdems.org.uk/sarah_olney).

    3. Whilst the Tories not fielding an official candidate means that there won’t be a split in the Tory vote, it should be clearer that Zac Goldsmith is really the Tory candidate (and will no doubt rejoin at a convenient moment).

    I have no doubt that it will be a hard-fought campaign but one we can win. Anyone know when the date will be?

  • Alex Macfie 26th Oct '16 - 6:52am

    David Evans: We’ve overturned larger majorities than Zac’s in 2015 (which in any case was largely part of the general swing against us at that election) in by-elections past. Anyway his shine may have worn off, based on the Mayoral vote in which he did worse in Richmond Park than in London as a whole. If he had a personal vote, he’s squandered it.

  • Of course the Lib Dems should fight to win this. But then I was someone who thought the best tribute to Jo Cox would have been to stand a candidate in the by-election to show that democracy in Batley and Spen was alive and well and not going to be knocked off course by the murder of an MP.
    We should take every opportunity to work for the defeat/implosion of the May Government so that an early election can provide a Parliament with the legitimacy to rescue us from the EU exit debacle..

  • David Evans 26th Oct '16 - 9:34am

    Alex Macfie: Indeed we have turned over large majorities in the past, but not against a sitting MP who has resigned on a matter of principle; who has huge personal wealth to support any campaign he wants; who has a very large majority from a general election where we were punished for breaking a pledge; where we now only have eight MPs (the same number as the DUP); and where we have not moved in the opinion polls since that election.

    There is a huge amount to do in very little time, and we need a big name and a willingness to accept that things are more difficult than ever before in many of our lifetimes. If we are to seriously compete in this by-election and build on the Witney result, we need to a lot of hard work at this and not blithely assume Zac’s personal vote will have simply disappeared.

  • Bill le Breton 26th Oct '16 - 9:40am

    Mark Goodrich, of course we could go down the orthodox route (and no doubt will). But the way to win this is to field a really bright and articulate but penniless student supported by another penniless student as agent – experienced campaigners will know why!!!

  • This seems to be an utterly pointless byelection. No Conservative candidate, Goldsmith wins by however a narrow margin and normal service is resumed. It is bit like a game.
    I suspect there will be a very low poll in protest. Nice if we won though, but unlikely.

  • Alex Macfie 26th Oct '16 - 9:51am

    I’m more optimistic about our prospects, principally because Zac Goldsmith seriously tarnished his liberal credentials in his campaign for Mayor of London. For sure, we need to campaign hard to make sure that voters see Goldsmith for what he really is, i.e. a true-blue Tory pseud who lives off inherited wealth, and that is my whole point. I have no intention of “blithely assuming” anything, rather I expect a strong Lib Dem campaign that will hammer hard the message that Zac is not the cuddly liberal a lot of his previous voters think he is.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 26th Oct '16 - 10:05am

    I hope the campaign will not focus on personal attacks on Zac Goldsmith. I would prefer to see a positive campaign, focusing on putting across a liberal message, about what the Lib Dems will do for the area and for the country

  • David Evershed 26th Oct '16 - 10:08am

    Lib Dems have a candidate in place in Richmond for a snap general election, who I understand has only been a member since May 2105.

    Should the Lib Dems select a more experienced and higher profile candidate to fight this by-election? Could Vince Cable be such a candidate?

  • Andrew McCaig 26th Oct '16 - 10:16am

    Neither the Sarah Olney twitter feed nor the Richmond Lib Dems website are behaving like there is a by-election on with a candidate in place… I fear the party may be shooting itself in the foot one way or the other but hope to be proved wrong…

  • David Evershed 26th Oct '16 - 10:17am

    May 2015 should read May 2015. 🙁

  • Mark Goodrich 26th Oct '16 - 10:28am

    The idea that we need some kind of “big name” for this by-election is seriously flawed. You have to go back to the early days of the SDP for that and we have won considerably less promising by-elections than this one!

  • Sesenco

    “his colossal wealth (almost none of which he has earned himself)”

    I’m not sure just attacking his wealth directly is sensible, but the fact that like the children of most Billionaires he has very little connection to the real world or understanding of normal working life.

    El Sid

    I’m not sure the LibDems are “totally committed to blocking […] Brexit no matter what” OI think most are committed to blocking “hard Brexit” so keeping ties with Europe and avoiding the silly barriers that the hard line “outers” are demanding. There is nothing contradictory about accepting that we lost the referendum but we want to develop a replacement arrangement that continues strong economic cooperation and trade, security co-operation etc.

    Anyone who thinks that he has a strong case on the Heathrow front, as a Tory in all but name he will still vote to prop them up in a crisis, so it is not likely to mean anything.

  • Alfred Motspur 26th Oct '16 - 10:56am

    Alex Macfie,

    Of course – I’m not suggesting that the Liberal Democrats stop campaigning on issues relating to the European Union or abandon their pro-EU nature given the referendum result. Accepting the democratic decision, however, means Liberal Democrat parliamentarians voting against remaining in the European Union – and, for the time being, there being no Liberal Democrat campaign in favour of remaining in the EU – unless the polls change or there is a substantial change in circumstances. Once again, this does not mean voting in favour of an undemocratic hard Brexit.

    This is not unprecedented. Liberal Democrat MPs voted in favour of an EU referendum on the back of the results of the May 2015 election, against existing party policy. The country’s sovereign voters demanded a referendum so the Liberal Democrats voted in favour of one. Likewise here: Brexit has been demanded, so the Liberal Democrats should work to implement it.

    Anything other than attempting to implement Brexit (bar supporting national opt-outs for London, Scotland, etc.) makes a mockery of voters and, frankly, will drive support for UKIP and the Tories – not the Liberal Democrats. Hence the newly-coined term ‘Bremoaners’.

  • David Evans: ” a sitting MP who has resigned on a matter of principle” — or, to look at it another way, has forced a totally unnecessary election in a futile gesture that will have no effect one way or the other on whether Heathrow expansion goes ahead. You see there are two ways of looking at this, just as there are about our pledge breaking in the last government. Anyway, as Witney shows, people are moving on from that; this is no longer the Clegg era and it doesn’t help when people like you keep trying to drag all that back up. Much more topical is Goldsmith’s disgraceful Mayoral election campaign, which shows the reality that he is devoid of principle.

  • If we stood against Goldsmith what would be our platform?

    This, I believe, will be a’one-issue’ by-election and Goldsmith is anti-Heathrow Expansion….

  • We will fight it on Brexit and on Goldsmith’s descent into gutter politics. Sure, Goldsmith will want it to be a ’one-issue’ by-election, but that does not mean that it necessarily will be. We certainly don’t intend to let it become one.

  • Expats – Sorry, who says its a single issue by election? Does Zac Goldsmith get to decide that? Does he own the constituency, and the electoral process? If he wants to resign on a particular issue that’s up to him, but from the moment he does resign, he has no particular status. He can stand again if he wants and fight on whatever issue he chooses, but he does not get to instruct the voters what they should take into account when voting, nor does he get to instruct the other parties, or the media.

  • Nick Collins 26th Oct '16 - 1:17pm

    If the Tories stick to their intent not to put up a candidate to defend the government’s decision, Goldsmith’s resignation to cause a by-election will be an empty gesture. But that’s their problem and his: not yours.

    This by-election gives you an opportunity to build on the momentum you created at Witney. Go for it.

    By the way, the BBC has just reported that Sarah Olney has said that she expects there to be a selection contest to choose the LibDem by-election candidate. Is that true?

  • Nick Collins – she said that on the Daily Politics this morning

  • Nick Collins 26th Oct '16 - 2:14pm

    Thanks, Mary. Is she right?

  • Nick Collins 26th Oct '16 - 2:17pm

    Sorry, Mary, I see that you’ve answered that question in the affirmative on another thread. It’s a bit confusing that there are now several parallel threads on a developing topic.

  • David Blake 26th Oct '16 - 2:30pm

    Sarah Olney was on the BBC’s Daily Politics today and came over pretty well. I think it would be a mistake to get someone like Vince Cable to stand.

  • Looking like the Greens might not stand a candidate. As a non-Tory candidate, he won’t (officially) get the CCO support or visits from senior Tories he might otherwise get – the ones who might visit are likely to be the Brexiteers who will probably not be welcome.

  • Alex Macfie 26th Oct '16 - 5:25pm

    Alfred Motspur:

    “Liberal Democrat MPs voted in favour of an EU referendum on the back of the results of the May 2015 election, against existing party policy.”

    Well that was a serious error if true. Why not go the whole hog and vote in favour of the whole Queen’s speech and all government legislation, if we decide that the party that wins the election is to have the privilege of its pledges being unopposed by our elected representatives? We have a REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY, so it is for the elected representatives to decide what legislation passes and what does not. Declining to oppose the government because it was elected to pass laws is basically enabling the government to rule by diktat.

    there being no Liberal Democrat campaign in favour of remaining in the EU – unless the polls change or there is a substantial change in circumstances.

    It is CAMPAIGNING (among other things) that leads to changes in polls. If we decide no campaigning, why not also say that no-one should be allowed to express pro-Remain opinions? It amounts to much the same thing. And by the same logic, we should not campaign against any of the present government’s policies because the government was elected, and opposing it would be subverting the will of the people. The referendum result was an expression of public opinion at one moment in time, the same as any election result. The idea that campaigning for something that has been rejected in a referendum is “undemoctatic”, is itself undemocratic. It is precisely how dictators use referendums. We should not be aiding the creation of a “Leave” dictatorship by self-censoring our opinions in the wake of the referendum result. You’ve got things the wrong way round essentially: campaigning is PART of democracy, especially campaigning to overturn results of previous votes. Democracy is about continuous challenge. You fundamentally misunderstand democracy if you think it’s undemocratic to use democracy to seek to change people’s minds or reverse previous votes.

    And campaigning for remain would help UKIP? Have you seen UKIP in action lately? The Private eye spoof article “Meeting Breaks out during UKIP fight” seems appropriate. And again I think you’ve got it wrong: it is the Remainers who have become more politically mobilised since the referendum, not the Leavers. Hence the swing to the Lib Dems in Witney (with UKIP nowhere).

  • Can I just tentatively suggest that if we are serious about trying to win Richmond Park and gaining the local left and left of centre vote from Labour and the Greens that Messrs Ashdown and Clegg stay away. We should NOT remind such voters of the coalition.

  • paul barker 26th Oct '16 - 7:32pm

    FYI Labour NEC has apparently decided to stand a Labour Candidate, whatever the wishes of the Local Party. This according to Conor Pope on Labour List, usually a reliable source. Worth reading Popes article to remind yourself of the blind hatred many “Moderate Labour” types have for us, none of that milky progressive alliance stuff from Pope.

  • John Nicholson 26th Oct '16 - 8:50pm

    In response to Simon Shaw: In 2010, 92% of votes went to the Conservatives and the LibDems, so there is a large soft Green and Labour vote to squeeze. They presumably will not go to Zac, even standing as an independent, and they presumably deserted us as a result of being in the Coalition. So balancing the needs to get this vote back AND attract some former Tory voters is going to be the challenge. It won’t be easy…

  • Jayne Mansfield 26th Oct '16 - 9:26pm

    In my opinion, all political parties should put up a candidate and fight for their beliefs with vigour. The electorate have a right to choice, and they can always vote tactically if that is their choice.

  • there is currently a story on the telegraph online (fairly near the top) about this by-election and EU policy positions that many on this thread will find interesting

  • Alex, you may believe or even know that Zac’s behaviour in the Mayoral election shows he is devoid of principle, you may believe that he has squandered any personal vote and has forced a totally unnecessary election, but the public might just see it differently. I tend to agree with you on most of what you say, but that doesn’t mean that the voters of Richmond Park think the same.

    What most of them will know is that Zac resigned on a matter of principle (he said he would) and even if it a bit of a waste, at least he kept his pledge. On the other hand, only 18 months ago we allowed nearly 90% of our parliamentary base to be destroyed, because our leaders broke a pledge and sacrificed trust in us to help David Cameron control his party. So I wonder if “Zac a man you can trust,” will be in his campaign. Do you?

    We need a clear answer to it and a big local name as candidate. With us flatlining at 8% in the national polls, a nice person will not have the presence to break through in the time available. Remember, we may have overturned larger majorities than Zac’s in the past, but we haven’t done anything close to that since the 1990s. Things just aren’t that easy now. Indeed it was darned hard even in those days.

  • Malcolm Todd 26th Oct '16 - 11:15pm

    You’re flogging a dead horse, David Evans: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37779423

  • Bruce Douglas-Mann promised that if he ever left the Labour Party he would resign his seat and fight a by-election. He kept his promise. How much good did it do him?

  • Andrew McCaig 27th Oct '16 - 10:45am

    I am guessing that when Goldsmith won this seat in 2010, and increased his majority in 2015, the normal Tory advantage in election funding was augmented by his personal funding was augmented by his personal fortune in ways we could not match.. in a by-election we can crowd fund our campaign and level the playing field since we will spend up to the limit..think of it as consolidating the 40% we got in 2010 and adding 5% Tory Remainers and we have a target to aim for…

  • As Goldsmith is no longer standing as a Tory, the Information Commissioner’s Office reckon he has no automatic right to use the crucial canvassing data that he built up as a Tory:

    “K. Obligations of elected representatives in relation to personal data when changing to a different political party

    60. Elected representatives are data controllers for all the personal data handled by their office. Where an elected representative leaves one political party and seeks re-election with another party, there are implications in relation to the personal data that, up to that point, had been processed by their office.

    61. Personal data should only be processed in line with the expectations of an individual. If there is any doubt as to whether an individual would expect or would be happy for an
    MP who now represents a different party to continue to use their data for marketing and campaigning purposes, the MP should seek the individual’s consent.”

    If I tell the Tory MP / candidate / their representative something, I certainly wouldn’t expect them to continue to use it when campaigning as something other than a Tory. I suspect most other people would agree with me. Either the turncoat has to start from scratch with their candidate’s copy of the electoral roll or they have to ask me if it’s ok.

    If the LibDem campaign isn’t already pointing this out, forcefully, they really should…

  • Bill le Breton 27th Oct '16 - 11:00am

    That was an interesting page (and interview) that Malcolm T pointed us too. First of many such I expect.

    And did you see what happened there?

  • David Evans: You completely misunderstand me. I do not think for a moment that voters will automatically see things our way. That’s never how it works, and we are going to have to campaign hard to get our message across that Zac Goldsmith is not the trustworthy small-L liberal he makes himself out to be. But you see, we already have a campaign narrative to challenge him. We can attack him on his Mayoral campaign, which DID negatively affect his vote locally (see Lester Holloway’s article). I live in the constituency, I know it, you would not expect his racist campaign against Sadiq to be at all popular in among the mainly well-to-do, cosmopolitan, small-L liberal inclined Remain voters here. And thus we can attack him on Brexit, in which he is against 72% of those who voted in this constituency. A lot of people voted for him because they thought that, despite his party label, he was a small-L liberal. Both the Mayoral election and his Brexit stance have shown that they were mistaken, and they are things we can and no doubt shall capitalise on in our campaign.
    Senesco is right: there is no automatic benefit to keeping a political promise, especially one that is a futile gesture. There is a track record of electorates punishing candidates for causing what they see as unnecessary elections, and it will be quite easy to spin Goldsmith’s resignation as exactly this. what good does resigning and seeking re-election over the Heathrow 3rd runway do when your principal opponent is also opposed, and a vote for Goldsmith is effectively a vote for the government that wants to build it? He may want the by-election to be about Heathrow, but he does not own the electoral process, and he cannot force other candidates, the media or voters to focus the election solely on Heathrow.

  • Alex Macfie 27th Oct '16 - 1:55pm

    David Evans: The party made a lot of serious basic political errors during (and before) the Coalition. That is beyond doubt. But that horse has been flogged to death now, people don’t care anything like as much as they did a year ago. The leadership responsible for that mess have largely left the building, the party is under new management. I do not understand why you harp on about Coalition-era mistakes as if they are the only things that matter about the Lib Dems when a lot has happened in the nearly 18 months since the last general election. And never mind the national opinion polls, we are making gains in local by-elections, and the results of real elections matter more than hypothetical national election votes, especially when there is no general election looming.

    Yes, of course it will take hard work to overturn Zac Goldsmith’s majority, but the Con-LibDem swing required is about the same as that in Witney, a seat where (i) we came 4th in the general election, (ii) Labour wasn’t squeezed by much in the by-election (most likely because it was able to point out it had come 2nd in 2015), and (iii) the by-election was completely unexpected. If we can get a 19% swing in Witney, then with hard work and a decent campaign we can certainly get a similar swing in a seat where we came 2nd last time and where the by-election has been anticipated for years.

    Why would we need a “big local name” as candidate when we have won by-elections before with previous unknowns? Anyway the only possible “big local names” have ruled themselves out, and surely, if you think our Coalition-era mistakes are such a massive roadblock, it is better to have a candidate with no links to the party’s recent past.

    Anyway your eternal pessimism about the party’s fortunes makes me think of Marvin the robot in the Hitch-hicker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Are you sure you wish the party well?

  • The Professor 27th Oct '16 - 2:34pm

    Rather sloppily worded IMHO.

    Elected representative who resign to force a by-election are by definition no longer elected representatives. The wording is “…MP who now represents a different party to continue to use their data for marketing and campaigning purposes, the MP should seek the individual’s consent.”

    Note in this instance he is not representing a different party (he is an Independent) and he is a former MP. Should former MPs seek the individual’s consent?

    I further note that sloppy wording such as that in Labour’s constitution re incumbent leader subject to challenge was eventually resolved in court!

    No doubt Mr Goldsmith can take the guidance at its exact wording and if challenged in court can afford the best legal minds.

  • David Evans 27th Oct '16 - 3:58pm

    Malcolm, you may want to believe it to be a dead horse, and I (along with lots of other Lib Dems) hope and will work to ensure that the wider issues are brought to the forefront in the by-election, but an article on the BBC website reporting what the Lib Dems want to make the election about will not on make it so. We have to plan, work and strive to overcome what Zac Goldsmith will be trying to say.

    He will have a simple message, huge resources, and a 23,000 majority. He is also totally wrong on so many fronts, and we are so much better than he can ever be, but in itself that doesn’t mean we will win, and telling me I am flogging a dead horse doesn’t seem get us a single step nearer that win. Analysing his strengths and weaknesses will.

  • David Evans 27th Oct '16 - 4:05pm

    Ian, a very interesting point. This is the sort of analysis of Zac Goldsmith’s strengths and weaknesses that we need. If we can take the ICO’s view and prevent him from using this data, we will have stripped him of one advantage he has. As you say we should be pointing this out – to which I would add and probably a lot more besides.

  • @The Professor

    The difference is that this is not a set of rules, but some general advice from a regulator on how they will be interpreted. They’re not supposed to cover all eventualities and you wouldn’t expect an Information Commissioner to be au fait with the rules about political parties.

    But even if there isn’t a case that establishes whether ‘independent’ counts as a different party from, oh, the Tories, he’s not standing as a member of any party and that is certainly different to standing as the Conservative candidate. He gained the data as such, he is that no longer.

    He will certainly need to register as the data controller, rather than relying on the Tories’ registration – he wants to use people’s personal data to be elected as an independent, rather than someone who promises to follow the Tory whip.

  • The Professor 27th Oct '16 - 7:14pm

    I take your point re the words are general guidance.

    I think the Information Commissioner will be on stronger grounds regarding the Data Controller – after all the Tory agent can’t just hand over canvass data to an Independent candidate.

    The other data held will be the MPs correspondence with constituents. Names and addresses and info such as opposition to Heathrow expansion. I suppose it depends on whether the data registration is a party one or one under the MPs name.

  • Malcolm Todd 27th Oct '16 - 7:35pm

    David Evans
    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. It wasn’t the headline on that article that I found significant, it was this line:

    “Tim Farron rejected the idea of parachuting in one of its big names.”

    I wasn’t aware you were flogging any other horses, really.

  • David Pearce 29th Oct '16 - 6:42am

    I think you are splitting hairs over party data. I don’t see why the conservatives cannot formally deputise someone for the Goldsmith campaign as a subcontractor to themselves to utilise data on their behalf. I assume the conservatives will be endorsing Goldsmith as their preferred candidate even if not their official one? Conservative party members will be out campaigning for Goldsmith, and hard to say they are not entitled to use party data.

  • Richard Underhill 27th Nov '16 - 6:25pm

    “Has Goldsmith resigned from the Conservative Party? If not, he is still a Tory, whatever he chooses to call himself on the ballot-paper.”
    “We will fight it on Brexit and on Goldsmith’s descent into gutter politics. Sure, Goldsmith will want it to be a ’one-issue’ by-election, but that does not mean that it necessarily will be. We certainly don’t intend to let it become one.”
    Zac Goldsmith’s leaflet is obviously well funded, full colour, double A5 etcetera, but he says “Keeping his word” at the top of page one, in a strapline under his name. This presumably relates to what he said in the 2010 general election. He may be regretting his promise to resign. During the campaign for London Mayor he was asked on TV whether he would resign as an MP if the decision on Heathrow went against him. He said YES. He was then asked if he were to be elected as Mayor and the decision on Heathrow went against him. He said NO.

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