Richmond Park

2015 Result:
Conservative: 34404 (58.2%)
Labour: 7296 (12.3%)
Lib Dem: 11389 (19.3%)
Green: 3548 (6%)
UKIP: 2464 (4.2%)
MAJORITY: 23015 (38.9%)

Category: Safe Conservative seat

Geography: Greater London. Part of Richmond upon Thames council area and part of Kingston upon Thames council area.

Main population centres: East Sheen, Mortlake, Richmond, Ham, Kew, Barnes, Petersham, Coombe.

Profile: Richmond Park is a large royal park in south-west London, home to a herd of over 600 deer. The electorate of the Richmond Park consituency consists of the residential areas bordering it - Richmond itself, the riverside communities of Kew and Barnes and, to the south of the park, Kingston upon Thames. It is an affluent, middle-class suburban seat, characterised by desirable period houses, large gardens and huge property prices. The seat also contains Kew Gardens, the National Archives and Kingston University. The majority of planes landing at Heathrow airport descend over Barnes and Kew and the potential expansion of Heathrow airport is an important local issue.

Politics: The Richmond Park seat was created in 1997 from the merger of Richmond and Barnes and part of Kingston upon Thames, leaving the Kingston MP and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont to go on his doomed run up to Harrogate. Along with Twickenham and Kingston and Surbiton it formed part of a wedge of Liberal Democrat strength in South-West London until falling to Zac Goldsmith in 2010.

Current MP
ZAC GOLDSMITH (Conservative) Born 1975, Westminster, son of Sir Jimmy Goldsmith, the founder of the Referendum party. Educated at Eton, where he was expelled for posession of cannabis. Former Environmental activist and editor of The Ecologist. First elected as MP for Richmond Park in 2010.
Past Results
Con: 29461 (50%)
Lab: 2979 (5%)
LDem: 25370 (43%)
UKIP: 669 (1%)
Oth: 789 (1%)
MAJ: 4091 (7%)
Con: 20280 (39%)
Lab: 4768 (9%)
LDem: 24011 (47%)
GRN: 1379 (3%)
Oth: 936 (2%)
MAJ: 3731 (7%)
Con: 18480 (38%)
Lab: 5541 (11%)
LDem: 23444 (48%)
GRN: 1223 (2%)
Oth: 463 (1%)
MAJ: 4964 (10%)
Con: 22442 (39%)
Lab: 7172 (13%)
LDem: 25393 (45%)
Oth: 379 (1%)
MAJ: 2951 (5%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
ZAC GOLDSMITH (Conservative) See above.
ROBIN MELTZER (Liberal Democrat) Born Hammersmith. Educated at Shenfield High School and Cambridge University. Former BBC producer. Contested Kensington 2010.
ANDREE FRIEZE (Green) Journalist and editor.
Comments - 2,152 Responses on “Richmond Park”
  1. Goldsmith looked like a young Greek God in 2010 and was popular with many ladies in the constituency. His focus on environmental issues made like look very liberal in this extremely liberal constituency.

    In 2017 he looks much older, to some will have lost his charm and will now be equated with race issues and Brexit.

    If he wins it will be down to the performance of the Conservatives on the night. I don’t see him ever regaining a 20000 plus majority here.

    If the Conservatives hold on here it could revert back to where it was between 1974 and 1997, one of these very marginal seats like Hereford or Edinburgh West that the Lib Dems seem to just miss at every election.

  2. The other thing is that Goldsmith will be pretty much restricted to the ~£15k short campaign spending, although no doubt the Tories will be blitzing the area with Facebook ads etc (dont underestimate the Lib Dems on this though! )

    Goldsmith’s complete failure over Heathrow in the face of the Theresa u-turn will play strongly this time in all the SW London seats. The Tory MPs all got in on a promise to stop it “because we will be the Party in charge and therefore will have all the influence”… That would make it hard for Goldsmith before you add in the Brexit factor.

    This is not a typical by-election where the Lib Dems win from nowhere. It is a seat they held for years, and I believe that if Goldsmith had stood as a Tory in the by-election he would have struggled to get 35%. It will be close though on June 8th though, I expect…

  3. The lead nationally ought to push Goldsmith over the line. A majority of 3000 imo. But Goldsmith went all-in twice recently and lost both – is he on tilt?

    Can Olney rely on the Lab vote still? Will be important…worth an extra 2-3000 to LD

    I think his comments in the Mayoral, which he says was reported in a distorted way, is being overblown. It wasnt reflected in the result:
    (excluding postal):
    Goldsmith 20391 57.0%
    Khan 9123 25.5%

  4. I don’t think gaining 18000 votes as an independent candidate means he is unpopular. The reverse in actual fact. I suspect RP will easily be converted back to a Tory seat after a brief spell post by election as Lib Dem.

    I don’t like Goldsmith but I don’t live in RP, so what I think about him is irrelevant. I think he is a lucky rich boy who has been given everything on a gold plate. If Goldsmith gets 26,000 votes plus which is very possible he will win this seat.

  5. It will be interesting to see if there is another London poll.. In the one at the beginning of April the Tories were actually down relative to 2015, with the Lib Dems up 7% as I recall. Local by-election in Harrow suggests that the Lib Dem surge in London is rather geographically restricted so may well be greater in the SW London former heartland than 7%. Since the beginning of April the Tory increase in national polling has been mostly from UKIP, who are not common in London, especially in RP. One presumes the available UKIP vote already went for Goldsmith in the by-election

  6. I think Zac might just edge this but it’s a very close call.

  7. I think LDs might hold this. Pretty sure the majority of the gains in Tory support currently are either rural or working class and mostly voted Labour or UKIP in 2015. None of those groups is a big factor here.

  8. Yes I could see a result more in line with 2010 than 2015 but suspect it will be a Tory seat again come the morning of 9th June

  9. UKIP are again not running here, as in the by-election.

    BBC London also report they plan not to run in: Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Vauxhall, Chingford and Woodford Green, Leyton and Wanstead. No final decision made on Enfield North.

  10. “It will be interesting to see if there is another London poll.. In the one at the beginning of April the Tories were actually down relative to 2015, with the Lib Dems up 7% as I recall. Local by-election in Harrow suggests that the Lib Dem surge in London is rather geographically restricted so may well be greater in the SW London former heartland than 7%” that sounds about right the only places the LDs will really be competitive are Richmond, Kingston, Sutton (though I think the Cons will win both seats), Northern Southwark, Highgate and the outposts of Childs Hill in Barnet and Cazenove in Hackney

  11. This will be close either way, but UKIP standing down ultimately is bad for Goldsmith, who will be tarred as “the Brexit candidate.”

    Also, can we not attack candidates’ looks? It’s very unseemly.

  12. Has Goldsmith’s selection been confirmed / is there a timeline for the process?

    I had this down as a marginal Conservative hold (notwithstanding my previous comments on this thread that Olney’s number of votes in the by-election makes this a genuine prospect). But if Goldsmith stands, his rejoining of a party committed to Heathrow expansion seems likely to hinder him as much as the benefit to having a party machine behind him.

    Will be a fascinating race whichever way it goes, and indeed whether it’s close or not, because whether it’s Tory or Lib Dem, close or comfortable, will be paid particular attention to on election night and will help set a narrative.

    If Davey and Cable win but the LDs lose this, any LD recovery can quite likely be dismissed as a correction from 2015 rather than the centrist,anti-Brexit surge they’re hoping to present the result as.

    If on the other hand the LDs take this, then even if one of Kinston and Surbiton or Twickenham end in failure, there clearly will have been a political shift of sorts, as before the by-election this seat was never under serious consideration.

  13. Early days but at the moment I think he will win it back I doubt Cable or Davey will get back in – in fact I am not yet convinced there will be a big LD revival.

  14. Voters hate being asked the same question twice in close succession. And particularly if it is the same person doing the asking. Even more so when they have admitted publicly, as ZG has, that they were an idiot for asking in the first place. When they are so asked, they tend to give the same answer.

    Goldsmith’s credibility is utterly shot, and I would expect this to be an LD hold.

  15. Zac is probably too tainted at this point. Quite apart from Europe and Heathrow was the way he conducted the mayoral campaign.

    He said some disgraceful things in the mayoral contest. First and foremost, the accusations rang hollow, amounting to little more than “you can’t trust Sadiq because of his brown skin”. What is most remarkable is that not only was this gutter politics, but it was not even effective gutter politics – alienating the middle, while the people at whom the rhetoric was aimed (ie racists) weren’t going to vote for Sadiq anyway. I can’t believe that these were things Zac really believed – the campaign had Lynton Crosby’s fingerprints all over it, except that here the smears were utter fabrications (rather than merely stretching the truth) and as such they fell flat. What is more, the “bigotry” issue could and should have been an easy win for him – just play nicely and wait for someone in the nuttier parts of the Labour Party (Ken Livingstone, perhaps) to say something anti-Semitic.

    I like Zac Goldsmith – particularly for his advocacy for reform of democracy in Britain which I believe is long overdue. But I wouldn’t have voted for him in the aftermath of that campaign because I would have seen it as a tacit endorsement of the way he ran the race.

  16. Plopwellian Tory,

    Re you point about “pouring resources into the seat”. Well I doubt if finance was a problem for Zac during the by-election. He could always dip into the Trust Fund! And I’m sure many local Conservatives lent him a hand during that campaign, recognising an “Independent” with a very large “C”.

    There could however be an issue for Olney. I think that the Lib Dems spent on a grand scale during the by-election and clearly cannot repeat that again. Nor can as many out of constituency volunteers be mobilised.

    The bottom line – despite the referendum – is that this is now a lean Conservative seat and, driven by the cost of housing, becoming increasingly so (see discussions ad nauseam up thread). So despite a damaged candidate, a Conservative recovery is very likely.

  17. But “resources” is not just money, particularly in the age of big data. Conservative Central Office will have had loads of useful data on individual voters collected from the 2015 general election campaign, and possibly the EU referendum, that no amount of Zac’s money could buy. That stuff, to which he will now have access again, can be the difference in a tight race.

    Still sceptical that he will win though. This is definitely one to watch out for come June 8th.

  18. I suspect the majority of RP voters think Theresa May is a “coalition of chaos” all by herself!

    If she had decided to stay in the Single Market (perfectly in line with the referendum vote but would have required some leadership in the National Interest rather than mopping up the UKIP votes), it would be different of course…

  19. Although her U-turn over Heathrow would still cause problems…

  20. Labour candidate for GE2017 is Cate Tuitt.

  21. Having initially taken a principled stand to leave the tories, Goldsmith has just higlighted the careerism of his move to rejoin so soon. I expect that to play badly, along with ANDREW111’s point about May’s tories being a “coalition of chaos” on their own. Also, with only 4.2% of kippers last time, they won’t attract many votes from other parties. I predict that this seat will see the tory share drop (from 2015) more than anywhere else in the country. The wind is in the right direction for the libdems, especially with no Green candidate.

    However; this isn’t a by election, and the 39% chasm in 2015 just looks too big to me.


    Goldsmith: 48
    Olney: 43
    Labour: 7
    UKIP: 2

  22. I know predictions like that are not very scientific, but if that was the result, it would of course highlight the wisdom of Labour joining the Progressive Alliance.

  23. The difficulty with the Progressive Alliance is the assumption that the views of party leaders and membership on the one hand and party voters on the other hand are pretty much identical. But 32% of LD voters were for Leave and, bizarrely, 5% of UKIP were for Remain. The West Midlands Mayoral election should have been won by the Labour candidate as there was a clear ‘Progressive’ majority on first preference votes. But that didn’t happen. On another post someone has calculated that LD second preference votes only split 2/3rd to 1/3rd in favour of the Labour. Admittedly a lot of second preference votes were wasted, being given to other minor parties, and the Tory clearly had an appeal beyond the core Tory vote. Nonetheless it is possible to over hype the Progressive majorit, especially when the tide is running so firmly in the Tories’ direction.

  24. I carried out a straw phone poll over the week-end and it would appear the LD will hold on to this seat, the result I found was;
    CON 43%
    LAB 5%
    LD 50%
    UKIP 2%

  25. My uncle lives in this seat. He’s always voted green but this time hell hold his nose and vote LD. Wouldn’t think hed be the only one.

  26. How many people did you call in your straw poll, Paul?

  27. Let’s not forget how accurate Paul Way’s straw polls were in 2015.

    Did a straw phone poll for this seat at the weekend, contacted 15 votes from each of the following, Dingwall, Portree, and Beauly, THE POLL RESULTS ARE;
    April 6th, 2015 at 5:30 pm

  28. In all seriousness this site belongs to YouGov and they should ban fake illegal polls from the site. Who knows, some poor mug might use them as the basis for a bet or somesuch.

  29. I made straw phone polls and a few street straw polls in 2015. I am first to accept not all were correct but about 95% were correct. I won’t have as much time to do as many straw phone polls this year but I hope to get about 18 seats straw polled and a couple of visits to certain seats in the next two weeks to carry out street straw polls.
    I hope to include 1 from N.Ireland, 2 or 3 from both Scotland and Wales and about a dozen English seats. As soon as I complete each I’ll put up the results.

  30. Thanks Paul 🙂 🙂

  31. ”I carried out a straw phone poll over the week-end and it would appear the LD will hold on to this seat, the result I found was”

    How many voters did you survey? If it was only a handful the margin of error is huge and basically 50-43 split is too close to call.

  32. Plus did you control for vote last time, age, class etc.?

  33. 90% of people will slam the phone down and/or tell him to f-off. So to get 30 bona fide responses he needs to make 300 calls. And to get them he needs to call at least double the amount of numbers as at least half aren’t in or won’t answer. 600 phone calls for a worthless sample of 30? Expensive and illegal, under nuisance phone call legislation. Surely you can’t believe he’s telling the truth guys…a more obvious pile of horseshit you won’t find on here. As I said, shame on YouGov for not deleting fake polls from here, that is against the polling council guidelines I believe.

  34. @ Paul Way

    “…about 95% were correct”

    No they weren’t. Your Ross Skye and Lochaber ‘poll’ was 21% out, and here’s another where the margin between the parties finishing first and second in the last GE was out by 20% (Greens getting 27%, as opposed to 6%).

  35. Don’t feed the troll mate

  36. Ignore Paul Way. Hemmelig is right. Just let him be and it’ll go away when it gets bored.

  37. Actually, in spite of apparent lack of Science it did tickle me greatly that a lot of Paul Way’s ‘straw polls’ were just as / more accurate (or no more inaccurate) than a lot of posters’ strongly made predictions / assertions on here.

    Some were way out, as has been pointed out, but some were much closer to the result that most people were saying. And at the end of the day, it was a lot cheaper than Ashcroft’s equally / more inaccurate constituency polls outside of Scotland! – so if you want someone to blame for wasting money on bets, blame Ashcroft.

    Paul is harmless, not a troll. I find it very amusing. Also, for those of you inclined to take it too seriously still, please note that his predictions are not favourable in one direction / biased towards anyone, they are all over the place.

    Us conceited ‘experts’ as we like to think, need to take a chill pill. Paul’s not posting 100 times a day (he couldn’t get that many phone calls done!), and you don’t have to take any notice of his tiny number of posts if you don’t want to. 🙂

  38. HH: “90% of people will slam the phone down and/or tell him to f-off.” I find that assessment incredible. Surely it would be a minority? Asking seriously as I believe that the response rates for polls are around only 35-45% and some can be as low as 20%.

  39. Response rates for cold calls are very low, even for reputable pollsters.

  40. Michael Crick reports that Sarah Olney has been referred to the Met over election expenses, over an alleged overspend of between £5,157 & £15,414.

  41. Unlikely to have an impact.

    There was a difference of 18,000 in turnout between GE2015 and the BE 2016 here. I think that a lot would gave been Goldsmith abstained. This along with less tactical voting by Labour voters and no UKIP standing means for me it’s a relatively comfortable win for CON.

  42. Zac Goldsmith has won by 45 votes.

  43. I thought this was a credible performance by Sarah Olney given the far higher turnout compared to the by-election and the general opinion (expressed at great length above) that this seat is naturally Conservative – post 1997 boundary changes – and getting more so.

    Not for the first time in this neck of the woods, the number of Labour core voters – 5,773 – far exceeded the Conservative majority.

  44. Given Goldsmith’s majority over Olney, think it’ll be one where Labour supporters would be fine voting tactically at the next election. Ditto St Ives.

  45. I think most of them already did vote tactically at this election.

  46. Sarah Olney is apparently being lined up as Vince Cable’s chief of staff.

  47. A poor choice IMO.

    It does look like the Lib Dems are rapidly shrinking into the Disgusted of South West London Party.

  48. Its their comfort zone and echo chamber.

  49. Can’t say I really know a lot about who else could have done the job – but I do feel uneasy about this trend for defeated MPs getting behind-the-scenes roles. People should be able to vote their representatives out.

  50. Sarah Olney has stood down as Vince Cable’s chief of staff, in order to campaign more in this constituency, where she plans to stand again at the next election.

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