Name: Zac Goldsmith
Party: Independent (resigned from Conservative Party)
Constituency: Richmond Park
Previous election history: Richmond Park, 2010 (29,461, 49.7%, elected), 2015 (34,404, 58.2%, elected).
Biography: Zac Goldsmith, a former editor of the Ecologist Magazine, is a former Conservative MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston now standing as an independent candidate in the by-election for that seat. He is the author of The Constant Economy.
He has represented Richmond Park for the past six years and was also the Conservative Candidate in the London Mayoral Election in 2016.
Hobbies/interests: Goldsmith pursues sporting interests including cricket. He and his family live in Barnes.
He says: “In 2010, when I was standing for election for the first time, David Cameron told west London residents: “No ifs, no buts, there will be no third runway.”
Although it was music to many ears, not everyone believed him, so I followed his promise with my own. I said that if my party changed its position, I would resign as local MP to trigger a byelection and give my constituents a chance to vote again. It was a simple promise, with no small print. And I know that many residents voted for me on the back of it. So when my party broke its promise, I kept mine.
I believe we will win this battle. In addition to the noise, cost, air pollution and appalling congestion implications, the sheer complexity involved in building the third runway means that with the right campaign, it is unlikely ever to happen. I will do all I can to make sure of it.
This byelection is happening for one reason only: it is our chance to speak as one – to send a message via the ballot box both to Heathrow and the government.
There is a reason why the Heathrow villagers whose homes will be destroyed, and all the key anti-Heathrow expansion campaign groups are actively backing me to win. They know that I am the best bet we have of stopping expansion. They also know that if I lose, Heathrow will declare victory.
I’m standing as an independent candidate in this byelection, and am asking residents to give me a clear mandate to return to parliament to keep fighting on their behalf – just as I have as an MP for the last six years on this and so many other issues.
As an independent MP, I will work constructively with government, supporting them when they get it right, holding them to account when they get it wrong – but always delivering for my constituents.”