Zac Goldsmith wins Conservative nomination for Richmond Park

Media caption,
Zac Goldsmith explains why he's standing again

Former London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith has been chosen by the Conservatives to stand for parliament in his old constituency.

Mr Goldsmith, who became a father again on Tuesday, was ousted as MP during a by-election in December.

He had previously left the Conservative Party in protest at the government's backing of a third Heathrow runway.

But on Wednesday night he beat Laura Ferris and Luke Parker to the Richmond Park and North Kingston nomination.

BBC London's political editor Tim Donovan, who was at the meeting, said Mr Goldsmith told the audience he would still oppose the third runway at Heathrow.

In his acceptance speech, he said "this is what it feels like to win an election".

Constituency chairman Georgina Butler said the party was "delighted" to have Mr Goldsmith reselected.

"After a resounding victory in the 2015 General Election, his absence from Parliament since last December has been a disappointment. He is widely regarded the best MP that Richmond Park and North Kingston has ever had, and we need him back to represent our residents effectively," she said.

'Beaten him once'

Lib Dem Sarah Olney won the seat in a campaign focused on Brexit - the Remain-supporting seat voting to oust Leave-supporting Mr Goldsmith.

But local Tories insist Mr Goldsmith is not a "hardened Brexiteer" and would fight for the best deal for Britain.

Lib Dem chief whip Tom Brake said: "By standing as a Conservative after resigning over Heathrow, Zac Goldsmith has just lost his last shred of credibility.

"People in Richmond Park voted resoundingly against a hard Brexit and against Heathrow expansion, both backed by Zac Goldsmith's Conservative Party. Instead they voted for the Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney.

"Zac Goldsmith couldn't stand on a Conservative platform last time, so what's changed?"

He added that Ms Olney had beaten him once, and "would do so again".

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