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Labour MPs split over Richmond by-election

Clive Lewis the MP for Norwich South has been part of a disregarded collective call for the Labour party to allow the Liberal Democrats to run uncontested against Zac Goldsmith in the Richmond by-election. However the party has ignored calls, including from Lewis, not to stand a candidate against Goldsmith.

Goldsmith, a former mayoral candidate, recently resigned from the Conservative Party due to the government’s decision to grant a third runway at Heathrow Airport, which would affect many of his constituents. He is now running to be elected as an Independent candidate.

Several Labour MPs have therefore condemned the decision by Labour to contest the by-election, given the small chance of a Labour victory.

The Labour Party have consistently placed third in general elections in Richmond Park, whereas before Goldsmith’s six-year stint as MP the constituency was considered a Liberal Democrat safe seat.

The MPs Clive Lewis, Lisa Nancy and Jonathan Reynolds used a Labour List article to voice their concerns about Labour splitting the left-wing vote in the area. They cited Goldsmith’s controversial mayoral campaign and his  stance during the EU referendum as reasons to support a Liberal Democrat attempt to oust him from his seat.

The MPs claimed that Goldsmith was “willing to throw hard won environmental and workplace protections down the drain despite all his talk of being green.” Their article concludes by asking, “Instead of pretending this is a referendum on Heathrow, why not make it a real referendum on Goldsmith?”

The Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey confirmed on the BBC’s Daily Politics show that “Labour will stand” in the by-election set to take place on December 1st.

08/11/2016

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