Zac Goldsmith peerage ‘a total fraud’ says Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney

By Jacob Phillips
December 18 2019, 15.47

Sarah Olney labelled Zac Goldsmith’s reported appointment to the House of Lords ‘a total fraud’ today.

The Liberal Democrat MP said that Goldsmith was only back in government because of his close relationship with Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds – instead of due to any merit.

“I don’t think Boris can call it the people’s government if he’s going to appoint people who have been rejected by the electorate,” she said.

“It’s not the people’s government if it has un-elected members in it. It is a total fraud.”

Despite being unseated by Olney in Richmond Park, Goldsmith is expected to rejoin the cabinet as Environment Minister.

She added: “It just goes to show it really doesn’t matter how hard you work or what you have achieved or whether you have been elected.

“Really all that matters is who you know and who your friends are and that’s how the Tories operate.”

Olney went on to slam Goldsmith’s environmental credentials.

“Zac claims to have a great record for campaigning for the environment but he is by no means the only person with these credentials,” she said.

“I don’t think Zac has expertise that nobody else has. He’s not particularly special.

“It is not as if Boris has any shortage of MPs.”

Goldsmith resigned in 2016 as a Conservative MP after the government gave the go-ahead to the third Heathrow runway and has since been a vocal critic of the decision.

However, Olney told South West Londoner that she did not think Goldsmith’s campaigning was significant: “There are lots of campaigners against the Heathrow expansion, myself included,” she said.

“Justine Greening was a more effective campaigner against Heathrow than he was.”

She went on to say that the appointment of Goldsmith as a peer was worse than the decision to give Nicky Morgan a peerage so that she can return as Culture Secretary.

“Nicky Morgan did not contest her seat like Zac did,” she said.

 “She was not rejected by the voters in the same way.”

A spokesman for Goldsmith said: “Zac wishes Sarah Olney well. It [Richmond Park] is a wonderful community and it is an honour to represent it.”

Former Liberal Democrat MPs Jenny Tonge and Susan Kramer were made peers immediately after leaving their seats in Richmond Park and North Kingston and neither sat for as long as Goldsmith.

Olney defeated Goldsmith in Richmond Park by 7,766 votes after winning 53.1% of the vote share.

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