I wrote last week that Zac Goldsmith’s entry would put a rocket up the selection for a Conservative Mayoral candidate for London, but that his desire to stand is in conflict with his sense of duty to his constituents in Richmond Park.
He announced yesterday a means of resolving the problem, or at least trying to. He is to write to every constituent asking for permission to enter the lists; he would later stand down from the seat were he to win the Mayoral election itself. In effect, he is to hold a postal ballot, funded out of the Goldsmith millions without any cost to the taxpayer.
Goldsmith is a first-rate local MP. His constituents may therefore object to his plan, believing that there’s a real chance that he could beat Labour’s candidate next May. Or they may not, calculating that London is essentially a Labour city and that the Conservative candidate will lose. In which case Goldsmith could fight the election, be defeated…and return to his South-West London seat.
At any rate, we are set for an intriguing test of voter opinion. The ballot will presumably be decided by simple majority. Goldsmith should be forgiven for being just a bit put out if his constituents refuse him consent by, say, 51 per cent to 49 per cent…