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Zac Goldsmith to stand for London mayor – But only if constituents agree

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The current mayor is due to step down in 2016 and there have been a number of individuals stepping forward as potential successors.

Goldsmith told the Evening Standard he had been urged to stand by people “from across the political spectrum”, and will write to his Richmond Park constituents to seek their approval. He is spending tens of thousands of pounds on a postal ballot to give them the final say as to whether he should run.

“I have just been reelected as MP and it’s important to know whether or not my constituents are happy for me to run for mayor. They must have the right to say no and it is now up to them to decide without interference,” he explained.

The 77,000 local voters (who elected him with a 23,015 majority) will receive a voting paper asking: “Do you give your consent to Zac Goldsmith to stand for election to be mayor of London?”

Labour’s Claire Kober, council leader of Haringey, recently suggested Goldsmith’s broad appeal could prove a big challenge to her party’s aims of reclaiming the mayoralty in 2016 – if he were to stand.

Now the Conservative MP has confirmed his intentions and argued he could get the best deal for London, by being an independent-minded Conservative. His initial track has been environmentally-focused – stopping a third runway at Heathrow would form a key part of his policies. Transport, housing and policing will also be addressed.

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Goldsmith is son of financier James Goldsmith and inherited an estimated £200m from his billionaire father. In 2009, he caused controversy after admitting he claimed off-shore non-domicile tax status, which he renounced in December of that year.

He is also the younger brother of campaigner and journalist Jemima Khan, while brother Ben Goldsmith is one of the founders of sustainability-focused investment firm WHEB Group. 

Goldsmith used to edit the Ecologist magazine and relaunched its format from an academic journal-style to a more current-affairs magazine format to broaden its appeal. He stepped down from that after deciding to pursue his political interests in 2006.

He said: “London needs a mayor who can work with government to get the resources that London needs to deal with massive pressures on housing, transport and policing, but is also strong enough to stand up to the government when it gets things wrong.”

If he wins next year, Goldsmith is expected to quit his seat in Parliament, which would trigger a by-election. The Standard also reported Johnson himself had given Goldsmith his blessing and encouraged him to stand – as a close friend and anti-Heathrow ally.

This followed Campbell’s recent declaration that he too would seek to replace Johnson , after claiming to have “so much to offer”. The former defender has repeatedly voiced his opposition to mansion tax, previously telling the Guardian: “Now that would really affect me. Maybe that is selfish, but it is a real thing”.

Also in the running for the Conservative candidacy are the current deputy mayor Stephen Greenhalgh, entrepreneur Ivan Massow and London Assembly member Andrew Boff.

They will take part in a hustings event for the Conservative nomination on 4 July.

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