Tag Archives: zac goldsmith

Richmond Park by-election: Liberal Democrats have very big smiles

“The mood music,” says the BBC’s Chris Mason, “is that the Liberal Democrats are running Zac Goldsmith very close.” He says that the Liberal Democrats have the biggest smiles.

The Guardian live blog has some piles of votes looking very close. They report that Labour and Betfair are saying we have won. Mind you, Labour are not always the best judges of such things, though, so that comes with a big health warning. We had to convince them that they had won in Glenrothes in 2008. Our box counts had the result within half a percentage point. They thought the SNP had won when it was clear to us that they hadn’t.

Let’s put some context into this.

Last year, we were absolutely stuffed in that seat, not to put too fine a point on it. We had an excellent candidate in Robin Meltzer, but this was on of the seats where the Conservatives’ scare tactics about Ed Miliband and the SNP took hold. Our support bombed from 42% to 19.3%, while Zac took 58.2%. The Labour vote unsqueezed itself. Their 12.3% was their best result since 1997.

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++Lib Dems select Sarah Olney to be our candidate at the Richmond Park by-election



Sarah Olney has been selected to contest the Richmond Park and North Kingston December 1st by-election for the Liberal Democrats.

An opinion poll has shown it is a two-horse race between local woman Sarah and Zac Goldsmith, the out-going Conservative Brexit MP whose resignation triggered the by-election. Sarah, an accountant and married mother of two, was selected at a meeting of the local party in Richmond today.

Sarah Olney said:

This by-election is a chance for people to have their say on Brexit, the NHS and Heathrow. Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will make a stand against Heathrow and Brexit, not to mention the scandalous underfunding of the NHS.

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Tim Farron reacts to UKIP’s endorsement of Zac Goldsmith

Following UKIP’s endorsement of Zac Goldsmith in the Richmond Park by-election, Tim Farron commented:

Zac Goldsmith claimed Brexit has nothing to do with this by-election. The very public endorsement he has picked up from the party of Nigel Farage nails that lie.

Zac Goldsmith was already the Conservative Party candidate. Now he is also the UKIP candidate. His campaign is the Nigel and Zac show.

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Reasons to doubt Zac Goldsmith will be re-elected

So we have the first by-election test in London for the Prime Minister who wants a country that works for everyone. How does Zac Goldsmith stack up against this mantra (even if not the official Tory candidate)?

Firstly he voted to cut disability benefits by £30 a week, resulting in him being dumped by a local disabled charity.

Secondly he has never railed against the lack of affordable housing in his own area as Richmond Council allows more and more luxury flats to be built in a form of Bosnian style ethic cleansing as his friend Boris described the London housing crisis. He also supported the sale of precious social housing stock.

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In the mayoral election, why did Zac Goldsmith get such a low vote in his own backyard?

Zac Goldsmith’s bid to become London mayor was memorably described as a “dog whistle campaign in a city with no dogs.” And few places in the capital demonstrate that better than Richmond Park itself.

As the local MP you would have thought his personal vote would make it a walkover. First preference mayoral votes, a good indicator of popularity, in Richmond Park shows that Boris Johnson won his second term in 2012 by a greater share in all but one of the constituency’s eleven wards compared to Zac in 2016.

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++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.

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++ BREAKING NEWS: Heathrow decision

 

As expected, the Government has favoured the expansion of Heathrow, over its rival Gatwick.

The Transport Minister will make an announcement at about 12.30pm today, but the BBC reports that the decision was approved by a Cabinet Committee earlier this morning.

The political interest in this will be to see how many Conservatives speak out against the decision.  Ministers will be allowed to state their opposition to the plans, but have to get permission from the Prime Minister first – these will include Justine Greening and Boris Johnson.

Down in Richmond all eyes are on Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park. He has said on a number of occasions that he will resign as an MP if Heathrow gets the go-ahead. He reiterated his promise again last week, and wrote:

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Heathrow, Gatwick or anywhere else?

 

The decision about whether to expand Heathrow is imminent. In fact, it has been imminent for quite some time.

A year ago the Davies Commission recommended that a third runway should be built at Heathrow, not at Gatwick, the only other contender at the time.

We were expecting to hear an announcement from Government before Christmas, but then the Department of Transport said that the decision would be delayed until summer 2016, conveniently after the May elections. This delay was not unconnected with the fact that Zac Goldsmith was the Tory candidate for London Mayor. Zac has famously declared that he will resign as MP for Richmond Park if Heathrow is chosen. He has now said he regrets this but will still stick by his plan to resign as an MP.

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Voting in the London elections – after 16 years voters are still confused

Caroline-Pidgeon

The Guardian has an interview with Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor.  After disclaiming any responsibility for the cold that has afflicted all the candidates, she says this about her campaign:

Overall, it’s gone well. Ordinary people are saying they like what I’m saying on childcare and cheaper fares that are affordable. And that’s not just in places where we are strong, like Sutton, or in Bermondsey, where I’m known.

She says this of her two main rivals, Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan and the dirty campaign they have been running:

I think both of them, but particularly Zac, will wish they hadn’t done it. It’s damaged their reputations. Zac has always been seen by most people as a decent kind of guy.

On the doorstep voters are still confused about the voting processes for the London elections – and that is not surprising because they will be presented with three ballot papers, each using a different voting system.

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MP recall: 73% of Lib Dem members approve of voters’ right to sack their representatives

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKLib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Over 830 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

73% of Lib Dem members approve of MP recall; 19% disapprove

The government has said that voters should have a means to ‘sack’ MPs who are guilty of ‘serious wrongdoing’. It proposes to allow voters in individual constituencies

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Registers and recall: I support them both. But they’re not going to clean up our democracy

The weekend’s revelations that two Labour peers and an Ulster Unionist were filmed offering to lobby ministers for cash, following hot on the heels of Tory MP Patrick Mercer’s resignation of the Tory whip over similar allegations, has re-ignited the question of how to clean up Parliament.

Two proposals are being pushed, both of them originally pledged in the Coalition Agreement.

Register of lobbyists

First, there’s a register of lobbyists, intended to bring greater transparency to the way in which professional lobbyists seek to influence government decisions. This is one of Unlock Democracy’s top campaigns:

If we don’t know

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Would you be happy with a payout to put up with aircraft noise?

The role of the Liberal Democrats in ensuring that this Government does not agree to the expansion of Heathrow airport is emphasised by an article in yesterday’s Independent.

It says that a group of right wing Tories with links to the Chancellor are drawing up plans to offer compensation to local residents who would be affected by increased noise from a third runway at Heathrow.

The Coalition agreement has ruled out giving approval to a third runway during this parliament and the Conservatives opposed the move at the last election. But some senior party figures, including the Chancellor, George Osborne, are pressing

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The Independent View: Nuclear subsidies – no thanks!

On Tuesday night in the House of Commons, the nuclear industry moved a significant step closer to getting their hands on an extra £1.3 billion of public money, courtesy of a coalition Government that promised no subsidy for nuclear power.

A Labour attempt to claw the money back through a windfall tax failed. And although this was supported by environmentally-minded Conservative MP, Zac Goldsmith, not a single Liberal Democrat MP gave their backing.

Admittedly there were notable abstentions. Sixteen Liberal Democrat MPs did not troop through the Government lobby to block the Labour proposal – including, intriguingly, Danny Alexander.

The issue …

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PMQs: The Pillsbury Doughboy takes on Motherhood and Apple pie – and loses

For the second time in three weeks, a LibDem asked the first question at Prime Minister’s Question time. Bob Russell asked, first of all, for the PM to list his engagements for the day. As usual, there was the same response as there has been for virtually every week since Noah was in short trousers. “This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others and, in addition to my duties in the House, I shall have further such meetings later today.” Same question, same answer, every blinking week. It is hard not to have a mite of sympathy with …

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What does the Zac Goldsmith case mean for election expense controls in future?

It’s always tempting to view the verdict of investigations through a partisan filter – if ‘your side’ does not get punished, it’s a great result by a wise team of investigators; if on the other hand it does get punished, it’s a muddle-headed verdict from dangerously ignorant investigators, whether that means the police, the courts or a regulator.

However, the case of Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith’s election expenses raises important issues which deserve a more careful consideration that the immediate partisan filter. Some are longer-term ones about how regulation of election expenditure is changing as the methods people use alter; others …

Posted in Election law and Op-eds | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Electoral Commission decides not to refer Zac Goldsmith’s expenses to the police

Yesterday the Electoral Commission decided not to refer Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith’s election expenses to the police for further investigation. Though this brings to an end official inquiries into whether Zac Goldsmith had kept within election law, the details of the Electoral Commission’s rulings leave several questions about Goldsmith’s expenses unanswered and also suggest that in future spending under the limit during the long campaign may be seen as a defence for breaking the short campaign limit.

As the Electoral Commission reports:

The Commission concluded that the total expenditure on the ‘short campaign period’ may have been under-reported by at least

Posted in Election law | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Susan Kramer unlikely to re-stand in Richmond Park

From the Kingston Guardian today:

The chances of a repeat of this year’s bitter election battle between Zac Goldsmith and Susan Kramer receded this week as the former MP indicated she was unlikely to contest the seat at the next election.

Mrs Kramer officially remains Liberal Democrat candidate for Richmond Park until six months after the election, but when asked whether she would seek the nomination again she said it was not on her agenda.

She said: “I think you move on and you don’t constantly try to replay the past. I would have liked the chance to do another

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LDV Saturday caption competition: “Kramer vs Zac” edition

There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader …


(Image courtesy: FromPlay.com).

Here’s former Lib Dem MP for Richmond Park Susan Kramer with her Tory successor Zac Goldsmith. What do you think they might have been saying or thinking about each other?

The winner of our most recent caption competition, the “Jeremy Browne passes the hat” edition – according to The Voice’s judging panel of one – was this one by Andrea Gill.

Got a photo of a prominent Lib Dem

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Five MPs face questions over election expenses – how good are their answers?

Channel 4’s investigation with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism into MPs’ election expenses has raised questions about another five MPs in addition to Zac Goldsmith.

Having already looked at some of the legal questions around Zac Goldsmith, how do the other five stack up? Two raise important points of how the law should be interpreted, one has unclear evidence so far and two appear to involve administrative errors without any actual overspending.

First, the legal issues.

Phil Woolas (Labour), who is already facing a court hearing in the autumn over his election campaign, is accused of not declaring leaflets that …

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Electoral Commission to investigate Zac Goldsmith’s election expenses

Having reviewed a complaint made about Zac Goldsmith’s election expenses (the ones that didn’t feature in that TV spat), the Electoral Commission has decided there’s a strong enough case to warrant investigation by them:

The assessment of the information indicated that there was the possibility of a failure to comply with the Representation of the People Act 1983 (RPA) and that further enquiries should be made in order to establish the facts of the matter.

The Electoral Commission could then decide to refer the matter to the police for them to investigate and, potentially, for legal action to be taken. This …

Posted in Election law | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Zac Goldsmith and election law: what doesn’t count towards your limit?

The allegations made against Zac Goldsmith highlight three areas of electoral law where the law leaves considerable latitude for interpretation and where the usual clarity that comes from an accumulation of case law is missing because of the paucity of cases that have considered the issues.

The first area is the question of reusable materials. If, for example, a local party buys some clipboards they may end up getting used over several elections and also outside of elections for activities such as street stalls. What therefore should the cost be to an individual campaign of using the clipboards? Calculations involving …

Posted in Election law | Also tagged | 13 Comments

Have you seen Zac Goldsmith’s Channel 4 News car-crash interview yet?

Phew! I’ve just finished watching Channel 4 News’s Jon Snow attempt to interview Tory MP for Richmond Park Zac Goldsmith about suggestions that he has serious questions to answer about the accuracy of his election expenses.

It’s true car-crash telly, with Zac Goldsmith spending the first seven minutes of the interview ranting against Channel 4 News in a way that will have had Tory HQ cringeing with embarrassment. You can watch the full 13-minute broadcast here:

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Channel 4 News: Zac Goldsmith has “questions to answer” about election spending

Channel 4 News will tonight broadcast the results of an investigation which it claims show Conservative MP for Richmond Park, Zac Goldsmith, has serious questions to answer about the accuracy of his election expenses.

The total allowable expenses for the campaign for all candidates was £11,003. Zac’s official returns show he spent 98% of his limit, just £220 below the limit. Channel 4 News questions whether on three specific items – his spending on political signs, personalised jackets and campaign leaflets – Zac’s claims would have been higher if he had complied with both the letter and the spirit of …

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Horwood: coalition deal on nuclear power creates possible “win-win situation” for Lib Dems

Part of the coalition deal between the Lib Dems and Conservatives allowed for Nick Clegg and colleagues to abstain on three key issues which divide the parties – raising student tuition fees, the Tories’ marriage tax allowance, and nuclear power.

However, written into the agreement, too, was the pledge that no new nuclear power station will receive a public subsidy – which, as Mark Pack has previously noted, means that if the figures don’t stack up, they won’t happen.

It’s a point Cheltenham Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood re-inforces today in an article on politics.co.uk, Lib Dem hopes for ‘win-win’

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General election: what have we learnt today?

After yesterday’s revelations about how the party leaders want to be seen, what did we learn today?

a) We learnt that David Cameron likes bare elbows on TV more than he likes George Osborne (plenty of clips of David Cameron with sleeves rolled up and elbows showing whilst Osborne appeared to be auditioning for the role of Lord Lucan)

b) We learnt that the public think the Liberal Democrats have run the most impressive campaign so far*

c) We learnt that Kevin Maguire doesn’t like being quoted by Zac Goldsmith

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What does Zac make of the Tories’ latest nuclear policy?

Just four months ago, the Tories’ non-dom candidate for Richmond Park, Zac Goldsmith, promised that his party would “ring in era of integrity” – and insisted no new nuclear power stations would be built under a Tory government.

Zac told The Guardian last December:

… that if the party sticks to its existing policy, it would never allow the building of a new nuclear power station. He said Tory policy “was to give a green light to nuclear power as long as there is no call on the taxpayer, not just in terms of building, but maintenance, security and disposal of

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Ashcroft finally admits, “I’m a non-dom”

The BBC reports:

Conservative donor and deputy party chairman Lord Ashcroft has admitted he is “non-domiciled” for tax in the UK. He said he agreed with David Cameron that anyone sitting in the Lords must be “resident and domiciled” in the UK.

He said he expected “to be sitting in the House of Lords for many years to come”, suggesting his status would change if the Tories win the election. Mr Cameron said, in another statement, he was “pleased” that Lord Ashcroft had decided to clarify his position.

Lord Ashcroft has donated millions of pounds to the Conservatives in recent years, much

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What the papers say…

Tories claim Labour is using taxpayers’ money to fund election advertising campaign – Telegraph, 15.1.10

“The Conservatives accused Labour of “raiding” taxpayers’ money to fund their election campaign. New figures uncovered by the Conservatives show that spending on advertising has increased to £232 million, which is a 39 per cent increase on the previous year.”

A tenth of schools fail to meet GCSE targets – The Guardian, 14.1.10

“One in 10 secondary schools in England failed to meet basic targets for GCSEs last summer and academies were disproportionately represented among the failing institutions, government statistics published today reveal.

“David Laws, the Liberal Democrats’ education …

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“Tories covered up cash donations from Zac Goldsmith”

So says the Sunday Times:

The Conservative party hid donations of £40,000 from Zac Goldsmith, his brother Ben and two billionaire brothers in an apparent breach of the law.

The donations were recorded on official records as coming from Unicorn Administration, an intermediary company which helps run the finances of the super-rich.

But The Sunday Times has discovered that they in fact came from Zac Goldsmith, his brother Ben, and Ben’s wife Kate Rothschild…

This weekend Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said he would write to the Electoral Commission calling for an inquiry into the apparent breach of electoral law.

He questioned whether

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Zac Goldsmith’s £260,000 “punt” on getting elected

Latest figures from the Electoral Commission reveal that Zac Goldsmith, Conservative candidate for Richmond Park, has spent more than a quarter of a million pounds of his own money in the hope of getting elected.

From today’s London Evening Standard:

“The environmentalist has donated £260,000 since he was selected to fight the Richmond Park seat in 2007, according to the latest figures from the Electoral Commission…

“Virtually all of the money goes to office staff and “office costs”. The party says that Mr Goldsmith set up his own office in Richmond, separate to the local association’s headquarters. The candidate employs two members

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  • User AvatarRob Parker 23rd Jun - 11:55pm
    I hate to break this to you Caron but it is absolutely a done deal and we cannot get out of it. The referendum result...
  • User AvatarDavid Evans 23rd Jun - 11:52pm
    I do think that once again some of us are looking with rose coloured spectacles at those we choose to look on as our personal...
  • User AvatarTim Hill 23rd Jun - 11:00pm
    And TonyH shows the other reason for standing. 9 votes by a paper candidate contributes 9 votes more to a national tally. Not standing, doesn't.
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    We should always stand a candidate. We have a duty as a party to give people the chance to vote Liberal Democrat. Those who argue...
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    Bless are we playing be nice to Brexiteers again. Don't challenge there rants it upsets them.
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    I don't think the country has become meaner. IMO, the version of Britain sold to the world from the Blair years up to the referendum...