Of all the politicians to have a bad 2016, Zac Goldsmith is high on that list. The former Conservative MP for Richmond Park managed to lose not one but two elections. First, the mayoral contest against Sadiq Khan after a tawdry campaign, and later his seat when he called a by-election after the Government approved Heathrow.
Remember how principled Goldsmith had said he would quit as a Tory MP if his party approved a third runway at Heathrow? He didn’t say that he’d call a hissy-fit by-election and stand as an independent – a strategy that annoyed his constituents so much that they returned a Lib Dem. Ever since it has been seen as a prime Tory seat (the party didn’t put up a candidate against Zac) for someone. Today we will find out which three candidates have made it to the shortlist.
But word reaches Steerpike that one of those in the running is Zac Goldsmith himself, minus his anti-Heathrow principles. After his humiliating mayoral bid and his spanking from his own constituents, Mr S can reveal Goldsmith to have asked for forgiveness. He will have spent several years buttering up the Richmond Park constituency association – but surely even they would know that they stand no chance if they serve Zac up again. As Neil Kinnock found out to his cost, voters don’t like to be asked twice.
Mr S has contacted Goldsmith for comment but is yet to receive a reply. Meanwhile Goldsmith’s website is currently down as it ‘undergoes maintenance’… is it time for a June makeover?
Update 1: As predicted, Zac Goldsmith, along with Laura Farris and Luke Parker, has made it into the final three on the Richmond Park shortlist. The final candidate will be picked tomorrow night.
Update 2: Zac Goldsmith has been selected as the Conservative candidate for Richmond Park. Let the games begin.
Fraser Nelson, James Forsyth and Katy Balls discuss other surprising potential candidates: