Zac Goldsmith has resigned as a Conservative MP after the UK Government approved a third runway expansion at Heathrow airport.
The former MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, who has always been opposed to the construction of a third runway at London’s biggest airport, has called for a by-election in which he will be “standing as an independent candidate”.
He said: “Eight years ago I was elected as the Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party in this area and among a lot of things, I promised you that I will fight the threat of Heathrow expansion.
“I promised you as well that if my party won the election, Heathrow expansion would be off the agenda, would be scrapped and I wasn’t making that up. You will remember that my party leader, our party leader and then the leader of the opposition made the same promise directly to us in this constituency.”
Mr Goldsmith’s opposition to a new runway at Heathrow is due to the environmental impacts it would create and the cost of the project which “will fall largely to the taxpayer”.
He added: “Heathrow is already the noisiest airport in Europe by a huge margin. Adding a third runway will drag nearly a million people into Heathrow’s noise footprint. Heathrow is already breaking pollution limits.”
When he was a candidate, Mr Goldsmith promised if the Conservative Government changed its position on Heathrow he would trigger a by-election.
He went on: “There was no small print, no expiry date, no ambiguity, it was a very simple promise and it mattered and I know it mattered because the thought of Heathrow expansion fills the vast majority of my constituent with dread.
“This election must be a referendum on Heathrow expansion. It’s our chance to send a message to government and to Heathrow via the bullet box. I ask you to give me the mandate I need to continue fighting this fight.”
Green campaigners claim a new third runway at Heathrow will not help the UK reach its emission targets.