Candidate profile: Christian Wolmar

Name: Christian Wolmar

Party: Labour

Constituency: Richmond Park

Previous election history: Labour’s nomination for Mayor of London (4729, 5.4%, not selected)

Biography: Christian is one of the UK’s leading commentators on transport. He campaigned for the Labour nomination for mayor of London in 2015 . His latest book is ‘Are Trams Socialist? Why Britain has no transport policy’

Hobbies/interests: Christian is a keen cricketer and distance runner, and plays tennis. He is a diehard football fan, having supported Queens Park Rangers for over 50 years.

He says: “This rather strange byelection is the result of the failure of the local MP, Zac Goldsmith, to win over his party to his opposition to Heathrow expansion. As a result, he has wanted it to be a referendum on Heathrow but it is anything but. Heathrow has barely figured on the doorstep. The key issue for local people is clearly Brexit, which is hardly surprising in a constituency that voted 70% in favour of remain.

And I understand their concern. Nothing put forward by the Brexiteers bodes well for Britain. From the dodgy Nissan deal to reports that 30,000 civil servants will be needed to extricate ourselves from membership, the news is unequivocally worrying.

Therefore, if elected, I would campaign tirelessly to try to ensure that we stay in the EU. I do not understand those who say that the referendum result is final. It was a defeat in a battle but the war is not lost. There is such a long process ahead that throwing in the towel at this stage would be premature and defeatist.

Local people have been delighted to see a strong Labour party presence in this campaign and the key lesson here is that there are no “no go” areas for Labour. I have been pleasantly surprised that there is such a solid bedrock of Labour supporters in this constituency. Not all of them always vote Labour because of tactical voting. Persuading them that there is a real Labour presence which can, over time, make a difference will be the key legacy of this campaign.”

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