Liberal Democrats confirm Sarah Olney as Richmond Park by-election candidate

Posted On: 
30th October 2016

The Liberal Democrats have confirmed that Sarah Olney will be their candidate for the upcoming Richmond Park by-election. 

Sarah Olney campaigning against Heathrow expansion
Screengrab/BBC News

Ms Olney will go up against Zac Goldsmith, who triggered the by-election when he resigned over the Government’s support for a third runway at Heathrow.

Mr Goldsmith will run as an independent, but the Conservatives and Ukip have said they will not put up a candidate for the vote and are both backing him.

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After being formally selected, Ms Olney said: “This by-election is a chance for people to have their say on Brexit, the NHS and Heathrow. 

“Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will make a stand against Heathrow and Brexit, not to mention the scandalous underfunding of the NHS.”

Ms Olney was already in place to run in the seat in the event of an early general election being called, and her candidacy for the by-election was confirmed at a meeting of local members today.

The Liberal Democrats are gearing up for a huge push to try to overturn the 23,000 majority won by Mr Goldsmith in last year’s general election.

They held the seat until 2010, and have already highlighted Mr Goldsmith’s pro-Brexit views in an area which voted Remain in June’s EU referendum.

Party president Baroness Brinton said it would be the Lib Dems’ “biggest campaign in modern times”.

“A poll has shown that she has already slashed Zac Goldsmith’s lead and that she is his only challenger,” the peer said.

“Labour MPs have also been saying that if you want to beat the Conservatives, you have to vote Lib Dem here.

“Zac Goldsmith is an independent candidate in name only and is being backed by Nigel Farage and UKIP. He is the candidate of a reckless, divisive and uncaring Conservative government. Liberal Democrats will be pouring into Richmond Park and we will run our biggest campaign in modern times."