LIB DEM SARAH OLNEY WINS RICHMOND PARK BY-ELECTION

Laura Creighton - Deputy Politics Editor

Voters in Richmond Park, South West London decided tonight to elect the Liberal Democrat candidate, Ms Sarah Olney defeating former conservative MP Zac Goldsmith.

The by-election was triggered when Mr Goldsmith resigned in October. This was in response to the controversial Heathrow airport expansion, which Mr Goldsmith has vocally opposed in the past.

Mr Goldsmith already threatened the by-election if the plans went ahead, and has since followed through on his plans to throw his toys out of the pram.

Ms Olney was the most serious contender for the seat, with the Liberal Democrat’s holding the seat until the 2015 election, when it was taken over by the Tories.

The Lib Dems fought hard to retake their seat, in an attempt to spark a debate on the EU referendum – Richmond Park voted to remain by 70% and the party have campaigned vigorously for the UK to remain in the European Union.

Lib Dem party members were seen ferrying voters to polling stations on the night, maintaining a presence in the community.

The party saw support from other liberal parties, in a tactical attempt to keep Mr Goldsmith from taking the seat back.

It is now expected that Theresa May will reconsider a hard vs soft Brexit in response to this development.

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