Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke blasts 'rich boy' Zac Goldsmith over Richmond by-election

Posted On: 
30th October 2016

A Conservative MP has labelled Zac Goldsmith a “rich boy playing fast and loose with the electorate” after he triggered a by-election in protest at the Government’s support for Heathrow expansion. 

Zac Goldsmith announced his resignation last week
Credit: 
PA Images

Mr Goldsmith is standing as an independent after resigning as the Tory MP for Richmond Park, and his former party is not putting up a candidate to run against him.

That decision has been criticised today by Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke, who went on to launch a stinging attack against his former colleague.

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He told Sky News: “I have said quite openly that I think it’s a big mistake the Conservative party is not putting forward a candidate. Let’s be clear: our majority will be cut from 12 to 10. Zac Goldsmith does not cut it to 11; he cuts it to 10 because he will be an opposition MP.

“The Conservative party will lose the Richmond by-election because we do not have a candidate.

“And I think that is wrong, the first time, I think, since 1963 we don’t have a candidate…

“I’m afraid this really is a rich boy playing fast and loose with the electorate – and actually a by-election costs the electorate hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The by-election will be held on 1 December, and is poised to be a showdown between the Liberal Democrats and Mr Goldsmith.

Ukip is also not putting up a candidate and has given its backing to the pro-Brexit former MP, while Labour has rejected calls from some of its own MPs to stand aside and support the Lib Dems.

A Conservative spokesman said of Mr Goldsmith’s resignation: “We disagree with Zac about the need for a by-election in light of this decision, but understand his position.

“He has been a hard-working champion for the people of Richmond Park – as we know he will continue to be if they re-elect him as their Member of Parliament – so we will not be putting up a candidate against him at this by-election.”