Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith has been confirmed as the Conservative party’s candidate for Mayor of London following an online ballot in which he won the backing of 70% of party members and supporters.
Mr Goldsmith’s selection completes the line-up of runners from the four parties currently represented at City Hall and will see him take on Labour’s Sadiq Khan, Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon and the Green party candidate Sian Berry for London’s top political job.
The MP’s selection was widely expected following months of polling suggesting he could beat Mr Khan to secure a third Conservative victory at City Hall. The same polling shows Goldsmith would have lost to Dame Tessa Jowell, Khan’s defeated rival for the Labour nomination.
He saw off challenges from London Assembly member Andrew Boff, MEP Syed Kamall and Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s deputy mayor for policing and crime.
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With mayoral victories won on second preference votes, party members are likely to have been influenced by Goldsmith’s record in taking votes off of the Liberal Democrats, from who he won his Richmond seat in 2010, and the likelihood of his reputation as an environmental campaigner winning over Green party voters.
Speaking after his selection was announced, Goldsmith said “In the last seven years London has come a long way. Under Boris, London now leads the world in business, tech, media, art and culture – benefitting from unprecedented investment.
“It is why so many people want to live, work and do business here, and it is also putting increasing pressures on our city.
“We have seen record investment in our transport network, but we will need to continue that investment just to avoid grinding to a halt – while at the same time continuing to bear down on the cost of travel so that it delivers value for money for Londoners.
“Our living environment is facing increasing pressure, and we will need to protect, enhance and improve access to our green spaces, as well as radically improving the quality of the air that we breath.
“But the biggest challenge of all is the housing crisis. Londoners are being priced out of their city and we will need a step change in the number of homes built, and the manner in which they are built.
“I am honoured to have been chosen as the Conservative mayoral candidate and I will work tirelessly to repay that debt. I have campaigned hard as an MP, delivering for my constituents and I will fight just as hard to become Mayor so we can build on the progress under Boris in making London work for Londoners.”
Current Mayor Boris Johnson said: “I’m delighted for Zac – he’s principled, hard-working, and dedicated, he’s fizzing with ideas, and he’s passionate about London and its people.
“In May next year this City needs its new Mayor to be a fighter, someone who’s not afraid to knock some plaster off the political ceiling in pursuit of the best possible deal for London.
“Zac Goldsmith is that fighter. He’s fearless. He will make a brilliant Mayor.
“I have no doubt he’s the best candidate we could possibly have to deliver the vital infrastructure improvements, new housing, jobs and growth London’s rapidly growing population will need in the years ahead.”