UK Politics

Zac Goldsmith's electorate back mayor bid

Zac Goldsmith

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has received the overwhelming backing of his constituents to make a bid to be the next London mayor.

The MP balloted voters in his Richmond Park constituency, in South West London, to ask for their consent.

Some 15,802, or 79% of those who took part said "yes", with just 3,569, or 18%, saying "no."

The MP sent out 77,071 ballot papers and received 19,890 back, a turnout of 25.8%.

Mr Goldsmith, an environmental campaigner who is strongly opposed to Heathrow expansion, is now expected to enter the race to replace Boris Johnson as the Conservatives' mayoral candidate next year.

Among his potential rivals are former footballer Sol Campbell, financial services entrepreneur Ivan Massow, deputy mayor for policing and crime Stephen Greenhalgh, London Assembly member Andrew Boff and the Conservative Party's leader in the European Parliament Syed Kamall,

Labour is also holding a contest to find its candidate for City Hall.

Mr Goldsmith, who was recently returned as an MP with a greatly increased majority, said: "I am hugely grateful to the residents of Richmond Park and North Kingston for taking part in the ballot, and am overwhelmed by the mandate they have given me to run for mayor.

"For five years I have campaigned hard on the issues that matter to my constituents, whether fighting to stop Heathrow expansion, pressing for free parking to help our small shops, stopping plans to charge people for enjoying Richmond Park, or campaigning to give voters more power over their MPs. I have seen how a campaigning MP can make a real difference."

He said he wanted to build on the progress made by Boris Johnson, who he described as "a strong, campaigning mayor" who had "secured investment, created jobs, made our streets safer and much more".

And he vowed to make sure "London works for all Londoners".

"That means bearing down on unsustainable rents and helping more Londoners own their own home; continuing to improve and grow our transport system to cut delays and deliver value for money for commuters; promoting a healthier living environment for London families."

It has also been announced that the former Conservative MP Nick de Bois - who lost his seat at the last election - will be Mr Goldsmith's campaign chairman.

Mr Goldsmith's agent said the MP had paid for the ballot of his constituents himself, although he would not say how much it had cost as the final invoice has not come through.

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