Caroline Lucas has called the Lib Dems’ victory in Richmond over Zac Goldmsith “a hammer blow” to hard Brexit.
The co-leader of the Green party, who has backed the idea of a progressive alliance against the Tories, argued the Greens can “take a great deal of credit for Zac’s toppling”. The local Green party decided not to stand a candidate against the Lib Dems’ Sarah Olney.
Goldsmith resigned from the Conservative party over the plans to build a third runway at Heathrow, but his independent campaign was supported by his old party.
The consequent by-election, though, became a referendum on Brexit and Goldsmith’s failed dogwhistle campaign to be London mayor.
Lucas said: “The regressive alliance has been beaten and the Government has suffered a hammer blow to its hard brexit plans.”
She praised Olney for opposing the expansion of Heathrow, her commitment to electoral reform and a desire to prevent “post-referendum chaos”.
Olney won with a swing of 30.4 per cent to the Lib Dems. Goldsmith’s support dropped by 13.1 per cent, while Labour’s dropped by 8.7 per cent, to just 3.7 per cent of the vote.