Zac Goldsmith on course to hold Richmond Park in by-election - poll

Posted On: 
28th October 2016

Zac Goldsmith is on course to comfortably hold on to Richmond Park in the upcoming by-election, which he has called a "referendum on Heathrow".

Zac Goldsmith addressing MPs after the Government's announcement on Heathrow
Credit: 
PA

Mr Goldsmith resigned as a Conservative MP following the Government's decision to back a third runway.

He will now fight for the seat as an independent, with the Liberal Democrats his main challengers after the Tories opted not to field a candidate.

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Today's BMG Research poll for the Evening Standard suggests he could win the seat with a majority of over 10,000, well down on his general election majority of more than 23,000.

There is still more than a month to go until polling day on 1 December, but Mr Goldsmith will take heart from the survey, which puts him on 56% of the vote, with the Lib Dems' probable candidate Sarah Olney on 29%.

Tim Farron's party plans to make Brexit the dominant issue of the campaign, attacking Mr Goldsmith over his support for leaving the EU, which was not shared by the majority of his constituents.

Ukip has already decided not to field a candidate as a show of support for Mr Goldsmith's pro-Leave stance during the referendum campaign. 

The BMG research suggests Brexit is currently the most important issue, with 25% of Richmond voters listing it as their top priority, compared to 21% for Heathrow.

In an interview with the Standard, the former Tory mayoral candidate said such an approach would be fruitless.

“I just don’t believe that people want to re-run the referendum. We know exactly what people in my patch think about Brexit because they have just voted on it," he argued.

Instead he said he wanted the by-election to send a message to Theresa May that "people feel really strongly" about Heathrow expansion.

He also revealed that if he wins he plans to sit on the opposition benches as a "critical friend" of the Conservative government.