Labour has chosen a transport expert to fight Zac Goldsmith in the Richmond Park byelection triggered by his protest over Heathrow expansion. Christian Wolmar, who has written a number of books on railway history, will stand in the contest on 1 December.
The Conservatives, along with Ukip, are not putting up a candidate against former Tory Goldsmith, who will now stand as an independent after his party decided to press on with a third runway at Heathrow. The Liberal Democrats, who represented the affluent suburb until 2010, are hoping to snatch it back with their candidate Sarah Olney, backed by the local Green Parties.
Wolmar, who also campaigned for the Labour nomination for mayor of London in 2015, said: “It’s a great honour to be selected to stand for Labour in the Richmond Park byelection, which gives us an opportunity to expose the disastrous policies of this government and fight the third runway at Heathrow, which I have long opposed.
“The Liberal Democrats and Zac Goldsmith supported every terrible decision taken by the last coalition government, from austerity to the unnecessary and expensive top-down reorganisation and creeping privatisation of the NHS. The Lib Dems are not a progressive alternative, but Labour is.
“Zac Goldsmith played a key role in the leave campaign which led to the decision to take us out of the EU – a decision that 72% of voters here opposed. The only way to send a message to this government and that we do not accept what they are doing to our country is to vote Labour.”