Saturday, 29 October 2016

Labour should not put up a candidate against Zac Goldsmith in Richmond Park

It would be an extraordinary step if Labour were not to put up a candidate in Richmond Park where Zac Goldsmith has triggered a by-election by resigning over the Government’s decision to expand Heathrow. However, it is a step that Corbyn and the party should have the courage to take. The issue here is much wider than Heathrow.

Goldsmith has resigned as an MP and is running nominally as an independent. His main challenger, the Lib Dem candidate, shares his policy on Heathrow and the Tory party is not running a candidate against him.

It is not only the Tories who are supporting the "independent" Goldsmith, it is also UKIP. Goldsmith, who is a long time Brexiteer, is the candidate of Hard Brexit.

Only a few months ago, Goldsmith ran an unpleasant and disastrous campaign to be mayor of London. Critics - including some Tories - called his campaign “racist” and “disgusting”.

Labour cannot win in Richmond Park. The only party that can hope to beat the Tories there are the Lib Dems. Before Goldsmith won the seat in 2010, it had been held by the Lib Dems. 

The Tories and UKIP are forming a pact to help Goldsmith. Labour should do so too to help the Lib Dems defeat him. If there had been such a pact in the recent Witney by-election it is possible the Tory could have been beaten.

Of course, any such move by Labour would need to be reciprocated by the Lib Dems at a later date.

None of this would be easy. It could only work if there was trust between Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron (and potentially the Greens and other anti-Tory parties). 

This highly pragmatic approach may be the only way to stop the Tory’s grip on power.


  1. This is a great idea. I entirely agree !

  2. KilburnKorbynista30 October 2016 at 23:04

    I also completely agree.
    I like this piece by Caroline Lucas, including the idea of an open primary.
    It's unfortunate the LibDems have announced their candidate, and in response the Greens are going to choose a candidate as well.
    LibDem, Labour and Greens need to unlock this by negotiating in good faith. If the three parties can't come to a mutually beneficial agreement, I for one will have little sympathy when the Tory/UKIP/Goldsmith pact makes them look like mugs.

  3. KilburnKorbynista31 October 2016 at 00:14

    Zoe Williams saying the same thing in her inimitable style