Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
2 December 2016

Caroline Lucas: Lib Dem Richmond victory a “hammer blow“ to hard Brexit

The Greens did not stand a candidate against Sarah Olney. 

By Julia Rampen

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.”

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

She praised Olney for opposing the expansion of Heathrow, her commitment to electoral reform and a desire to prevent “post-referendum chaos”.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them

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.