London : In a setback to UK Prime Minister Theresa May, a pro-EU lawmaker registered a massive victory in the by-election in a posh London suburb, indicating a rebuke over the government’s plans to pull Britain out of the 28 nation European Union.
Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Olney, who fought on an anti-Brexit platform, overturned a whopping 23,015 majority of the ruling Conservative party in South West London. She defeated Zac Goldsmith, brother of Jemima Goldsmith Khan – ex-wife of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, by polling 20,510 votes, compared to his 18,638.
Goldsmith had held the seat for May’s Conservative party since 2010. In contrast to the rest of the country, London had voted for Remain in the June 23 referendum, with Richmond a strong pro-Remain constituency. “The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit government, and our message is clear – we do not want a hard Brexit. We do not want to be pulled out of the single market, and we will not let intolerance, division and fear win,” Olney said in her victory speech. Goldsmith had triggered the by-election after he resigned from the Conservative party in October to stand as an Independent to keep his manifesto pledge to protest the government’s decision to back a third runway at Heathrow. Labour’s Christian Wolmar lost his 500-pound deposit as he trailed a distant third.