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