‘I don’t belong in UKIP!’ Richmond Tory candidate Zac Goldsmith rejects claims that party is ‘natural home’

Zac Goldsmith has denied claims that he would be better suited to the UKIP party, after Twickenham’s UKIP candidate Barry Edwards described it as a ‘natural home’ for him.

The Conservative candidate for Richmond hit back after Mr Edwards said the maverick politician is sympathetic to the UKIP party and is frustrated at his lack of influence.

Mr Edwards said: “I know Zac Goldsmith very well,  his father started the Referendum Party which led to UKIP in the first place; he has a lot of sympathy for UKIP.

“I think UKIP is a more natural home for him –I think he’s trying to improve the credentials of the Conservatives.

“But I tried that and it didn’t work and he’s probably banging his head against the wall and will eventually realise that you can’t change an organisation that has an established way of doing things.”

Mr Goldsmith, who was backed by Boris Johnson to replace him as London Mayor, is one of the most outspoken MPs in Parliament and had an amendment calling for MP recall rejected last October.

In 2012 he said he would not stand as a Conservative MP at the next election if the party supports a third runway at Heathrow airport.

Mr Goldsmith told SW Londoner:  “The first role of an MP should be holding the government to account, no matter which party is in charge, and that has pitched me at times against the coalition government.

“But it’s quite a stretch for Barry to interpret that as my having sympathy with UKIP!

“I am Conservative because I favour the conservative approach.

“Of course all parties have something useful to offer, and it is patently absurd when candidates and MPs pretend their own party has an absolute monopoly on good ideas.

“For my part I like the Green Party’s emphasis on the environment and UKIP’s emphasis on direct democracy, but in both cases there is far more to disagree with than agree with.”

Mr Edwards added that he believed the Twickenham constituency would be a three-way fight between UKIP, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

Vince Cable has comfortably won the last four elections, with only the Conservatives forming any sort of sizeable challenge, but Mr Edwards argued that the Lib Dem’s national popularity has plummeted.

“Throughout the whole country the Lib Dems have flatlined,” he said.  “Vince has maintained a profile in the area so he’s got this sort of cuddly Vince approach.

“At a certain point the public will realise that he’s no different to the other Lib Dems, if they don’t do it this election there’s going to be a lot of hardship.

“They got rid of the Lib Dems at the local councils. Vince has said that he doesn’t get involved with local affairs.

“The writing is on the wall and I think the Lib Dems are going to have a disaster in this election.

“If Vince can insulate himself from the rest of the party then he’s done well.”

Picture courtesy of Policy Exchange, with thanks

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