Lib Dems’ Richmond Park hopes pin on Brexit more than Heathrow
It hasn’t yet been announced when the Richmond Park by-election will take place, but already it’s clear who the main players are and what the key agendas will be.
The Government’s decision to back a third runway at Heathrow this week prompted Richmond’s Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith to step down.
Goldsmith will be hoping to win back his seat – as an Independent – and with the Tories not putting anyone up to go against him, the Borough has become a two-horse race with the former London Mayoral candidate facing the Liberal Democrats.
Sarah Olney will run for the 6/4 shots, who held Richmond Park from its creation as a seat in 1997 to 2010, when they lost narrowly to Goldsmith.
Heavily beaten last year, the Amber party have experienced a resurgence this year, and their improved results in the Whitney by-election (triggered by David Cameron’s standing down) gives them renewed hope in Richmond.
Goldsmith is sure to find plenty of favour with local voters over his Heathrow opposition, but that was a stance the Lib Dems also took.
Their best hope – and they’ve said as much themselves – is to turn this by-election into a Brexit debate.
Having opposed a Leave vote, the Lib Dems may prove to be a popular choice among a Constituency which voted to stay in June’s EU Referendum by a whopping 69 per cent, while Goldsmith was a Brexiteer.
The Independent candidate is 1/2 favourite but those odds have drifted to and from 11/8 this week.
And as for Labour? At 100/1 they’re alongside the Greens as rank outsiders, and some noises have even been made that Labour supporters could vote Lib Dems in order to oust the Tories and Goldsmith.
The by-election is expected to take place in December, and you can be sure there will be a few more twists and turns concerning Richmond Park between now and then.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing