Zac Goldsmith retakes Richmond Park – by 45 votes
The victory marked the end of a string of blows to Mr Goldsmith in a little over a year.
Zac Goldsmith has snatched the narrowest of victories in Richmond Park with a majority of just 45.
After dramatically quitting the Conservatives over Heathrow expansion last autumn, Mr Goldsmith was back in the Tory fold this election to unseat the Lib Dems’ Sarah Olney.
Goldsmith, 42, lost to Ms Olney on December 1 last year after triggering a by-election when he quit the Conservatives in protest at his party’s plans for a third runway.
He stood then as an independent but was defeated by Ms Olney by 18,638 to 20,510, or 4.5%. Today 63,462 votes were cast in Richmond Park – a total of 79.3% of the electorate and up from 53.55% for last December’s by-election. He won 28,588 votes to Ms Olney’s 28,543.
The victory marked the end of a string of blows to Mr Goldsmith in a little over a year – he lost the London mayoral election to Sadiq Khan, was unable to alter his party’s stance on Heathrow before losing his seat to Ms Olney.
Despite rejoining the Conservatives, Mr Goldsmith still ran his campaign on his anti-Heathrow credentials. Staunchly pro-Brexit, the multi-millionaire member of the eponymous banking dynasty also had to win over a constituency that voted 72% Remain.
He said: “I’m grateful to my constituents for having put their trust in me again. I hope that I will never let them down – we have the most special community in the world and representing them is an unimaginable honour.”
He refused to answer questions on the future of Theresa May following his election speech.
Ms Olney – a former accountant – commented during the campaign that voters were confused as to why Goldsmith was standing for the Conservative despite continuing to oppose Heathrow expansion. The 40-year-old was the only female Liberal Democrat MP in the 2015-2017 parliament.