“Richmond Park By-Election: An earthquake in British politics?” – Luke Goodstadt

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By Luke Goodstadt

On 1st December, the people of Richmond Park went to the polls to elect their new Member of Parliament (MP) after the resignation of Zac Goldsmith over the expansion of Heathrow Airport. The election turned out to be a tight run race, with the main issues once again boiling down to ‘Brexit’ and the ‘Heathrow Expansion’.

Although Zac Goldsmith had kept his promise to “resign if the government approves the expansion of Heathrow”, he was also running as an advocate of ‘Brexit’ in a constituency that voted 70% to Remain. Sarah Olney, the candidate for Liberal Democrats, and the only ‘real’ challenger to Goldsmith, stood on a platform of pro-remain and anti-expansion.

Looking at these facts alone, it is no wonder that the Liberal Democrats managed to overturn a 20,000 Conservative majority to take the seat in the early hours of the 3rd December.

The Liberal Democrats are certainly delighted with this result, with it marking the pinnacle of their resurgence so far. Tim Farron states that this result made him feel more hopeful that a more open, tolerant and unified Britain is possible. However many people would say that this result was inevitable considering that the constituency was considerably pro-remain, and that the Conservatives, Greens and UKIP all refused to put forward a candidate.

It is uncertain whether this result will effect British politics in a massive way, but it is certainly a swing back towards the centre in a year that has given too much light to the far right.

Luke J Goodstadt is currently studying History and Politics. When he is not attending lectures he enjoys cycling, reading and writing.



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