UK Politics

Zac Goldsmith chosen as Conservative London mayoral candidate

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Media captionZac Goldsmith: ''Anyone who wants to put himself in Boris's shoes would be mad - Boris is unique in British politics''

Zac Goldsmith will contest the 2016 London mayoral election for the Conservatives, it has been announced.

The Richmond Park and North Kingston MP said he was "honoured" after winning 70% of the 9,227 votes cast using an online primary system.

He beat London Assembly Member Andrew Boff, MEP Syed Kamall and London's deputy mayor for crime and policing Stephen Greenhalgh.

Mr Goldsmith's main rival is likely to be Labour's Sadiq Khan.

Mr Khan beat former cabinet minister Tessa Jowell and a number of other current MPs to win the Labour nomination last month.

Caroline Pidgeon is the Lib Dem candidate, Sian Berry will contest the election for the Greens and UKIP has chosen its culture spokesman Peter Whittle. Former Respect MP George Galloway is also running.

Mr Goldsmith, who was the favourite for the Tory nomination, balloted his constituents earlier this year to seek permission to stand.


Analysis by Tim Donovan, BBC London political editor

Image copyright PA

At the very point of his entry into the race for London mayor, Zac Goldsmith's decision revealed two big characteristics.

Only a politician with an acute sense of accountability would have sought permission to stand through a ballot of his constituency members in Richmond and North Kingston.

Only someone with his personal wealth would have been able to afford the estimated £60,000 cost of doing it.

Both characteristics could come to feature heavily in the months to come.

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He won Friday's vote comfortably, getting 6,514 votes, more than the other three candidates combined.

Syed Kamall came second with 1,477 votes ahead of Stephen Greenhalgh (864) and Andrew Boff (372).

Mr Goldsmith - who first entered Parliament in 2010 - told the BBC's Daily Politics that he hoped his environmental record would appeal to Green and Lib Dem voters and he also hoped to "reach out" to UKIP supporters frustrated with politics as usual and the UK's relationship with the EU.


Zac Goldsmith

Image copyright PA
  • Born in 1975, educated at Eton and the Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies
  • Grew up in Richmond, south west London. Son of the late billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith, who formed the short-lived Referendum Party in the 1990s
  • Edited the Ecologist magazine before entering Parliament
  • MP for Richmond Park since 2010
  • Campaigns on environmental issues and is bitterly opposed to Heathrow expansion
  • A Eurosceptic, he says he will vote to leave the EU in the UK's referendum unless major reforms are secured

Mr Goldsmith, who has confirmed he would stand down from Parliament if he became mayor, triggering a by-election, said he wanted to build on current mayor Boris Johnson's achievements.

But he said anyone who attempted to replicate Mr Johnson's style of leadership would be "deluded" as he was a "unique figure" in British politics.

"If people are in the market for a 'Boris mark two' are going to be very disappointed," he said, adding that people wanted someone who "will bend George Osborne's ear and get a good deal for London".

'Great Gatsby'

He also told the BBC News Channel that high-polluting vehicles should be "phased out" of the capital's streets and that his biggest priority would be housing.

Both Mr Khan and Mr Goldsmith oppose a new runway at Heathrow airport, a fact described by the British Chambers of Commerce as "depressing".

Mr Goldsmith is also promising more transport investment to prevent London "grinding to a halt" and to "protect, enhance and improve access" to green spaces.

Image copyright JEFF OVERS
Image caption Zac Goldsmith is up against Labour's Sadiq Khan

Current mayor Boris Johnson will step down next year after two terms in office. He is also currently the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, having been returned to Parliament in May.

Some Conservatives have called for an inquiry into the mayoral election process after only 9,227 people voted - compared with a 87,884 turnout for the Labour contest.

In an attempt to open up the contest to people who weren't Conservative members, anyone on the electoral roll was able register to vote for £1.

But one of the campaign teams told the BBC earlier this month the process "looked chaotic".

Speaking on the BBC's Daily Politics, Mr Galloway dismissed Mr Goldsmith as a "Great Gatsby figure" who could not relate to most Londoners' lives and Mr Khan as "a very boring man".

He revealed policies including compulsorily purchasing any house left vacant for more than a year and having 50% of all homes built in the capital as social housing.

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