And so we say farewell to Zac Goldsmith as an MP having been well and truly trounced by the electorate of Richmond Park (turning a majority of 23,000 into a loss of 1,900).
Had I been a voter in Richmond Park I would have been torn between voting for the LibDems in order to prove a point – although if asked I might have been struggling to know what that point was – or to vote for the pro-Brexit (whereas I remain a Remainer) candidate who ran a surprisingly nasty and unpleasant campaign for London mayor (which shocked me) but, but, but, and one last but, was one of the strongest environmentalists in the House of Commons and even more so amongst the Conservative Party.
Since it isn’t my manor I didn’t have the choice, but I might have made the decision to vote for a pro-Brexit environmentalist because nature and the environment need as many allies in the Palace of Westminster as possible. Or maybe I couldn’t have brought myself to do so. Who knows?
As you may have noticed, I rather like people of independent thoughts, even when they disagree with me (and even when those disagreements are over big and important things). And Zac did keep his promise to trigger a by-election if the government chose Heathrow. Being a millionaire made it a lot easier for Zac to plough his independent furrow, but that’s irrelevant. He was an independent voice for nature in Westminster. So much so, that had the timing been different, I would have tried very hard to persuade him to say something in the debate on grouse shooting, but he had resigned his seat the week before. So, who knows?
Farewell Zac Goldsmith and thank you for the good things you have done in parliament. Your defeat has done little to shift the balance in parliament over Brexit or race issues but it has noticeably weakened the Environmental Audit Committee and the credentials of the Conservative Party as being a nature-loving party.
Go on, which Conservative MP would you nominate as the most wildlife-friendly and wildlife-informed as of today?