Zac goldsmith

Letters: how to get the uni protestors out

Soft left Sir: I read with a certain wry amusement in Yascha Mounk’s piece that ‘activists’ occupying Columbia were demanding the university administrators should supply them with food and water (‘Preach first’, 11 May). How times have changed. In winter 1976 I was the president of the student body at Edinburgh University. A group of ultra-left activists occupied a building of the social science faculty. The administration sent two members of staff to speak to me in the hope that I might be able to dislodge them. I explained very patiently to them that given my own unashamed Conservatism, there was unlikely to be any meeting of minds on this

Truss dismantles the eco ‘axis of evil’

Politics is a cruel business. One minute the gods are shining brightly on you, the next, you’re consigned to the barren wilderness. And few know that better than Liz Truss, our northern Premier with a Sicilian bent. For Truss, The Godfather appears to be less a film than an instruction manual, judging by the nature of her first reshuffle. Her old enemies were purged with Michael Ellis the sole surviving Sunak supporter. Truss knows better than most the fickle nature of the political game. Just two years ago, she was in the fight of her life at the DIT when she was battling to push through post Brexit trade deals.

Team Truss turns on each other at eco-hustings

The Tory leadership teams rolled into Belfast this afternoon, clad in metaphorical red, white and blue and eager to display their unionist credentials. But while all eyes were on Ulster, elsewhere the real scrap was happening at the Conservative Environment Network where proxies were battling it out for the two final contenders. In team Truss’s corner was Lord Goldsmith, the former MP now ensconced in ermine, while George Eustice, the soon-to-be-departed Environment Secretary, did the honours for Rishi Sunak. The two men have both been jousting for their patrons but there was little sign of courtly behaviour on show. Eustice, who serves as Goldsmith’s boss in the department, accused Truss

Defra director: I’m with Extinction Rebellion

Westminster’s favourite millionaire environmentalists are it again. It seems that one or other of the Goldsmith brothers can’t go three months without sticking their foot in it. Today it’s the turn of Ben, the less prominent but no less gaffe-prone millionaire, who is one of the non-executive directors in Defra – the environment department in which his brother Zac currently serves as minister. Undeterred by last night’s shenanigans by Crispin Blunt, Ben Goldsmith decided to today make himself the main character of Tory twitter by offering his views on the oil blockades currently being imposed by eco-activists. Responding to Labour’s call to impose an injunction on the disruptors, Goldsmith declared: Not

The perils of a sex party

Gstaad I cross-country ski the old-fashioned way, not skating but on machine-made narrow tracks. It is known to be the best exercise in the world. Both upper and lower body get the maximum workout as one churns along a beautiful course in Lauenen, a tiny nearby village that looks like Gstaad did 60 years ago. I used to bring my children to the lake here during the summer, warning them time and again about a horrible monster that lived underwater and specialised in grabbing little kids. They screamed and screamed in terror until they got a bit older, told me to stop talking nonsense and swam to their heart’s content.

The Zac Pack: the well-connected group quietly shaping Tory policy

Who let the dogs out? That’s the subject of a Whitehall probe into the recent Afghanistan debacle. When the Taliban took Kabul, an estimated 1,200 people who qualified for evacuation to the UK had to be left behind. But on 28 August, waiting Afghan families were left helpless on the ground as 173 cats and dogs were escorted past them into the airport and off to safety. The big question: on whose authority were animals put ahead of humans? And did any of this have the Prime Minister’s backing? As ever with Johnsonian drama, the truth is elusive, but one minister seems closer to it than others. A parliamentary investigation

Watch: Andrew Adonis eviscerated in the Lords

In his bid to reverse Brexit, Lord Adonis has demonstrated few qualms in using any weapon at his disposal. For years now Britain’s most ironically-titled peer has been keeping up a one man Twitter war, stalking the jungles of social media like some Japanese warrior fighting a campaign that ended 30 years ago. Now though, it appears his latest cynical attack on a member of the government has backfired in spectacular style. Adonis, who has previously demonstrated little interest in green issues, suddenly found himself most exercised at the beginning of the week when he saw the government embroiled in difficulties over its Environment Bill. A series of tweets were fired off aimed at

No, Zac Goldsmith, Teslas are not the solution to the fuel crisis

I am not generally given to conspiracy theories, but I have to say there was a point last week where I started asking myself whether there are people in government saying to each other ‘these queues at petrol stations – they are exactly what we need if we are going to persuade people to buy electric cars and phase out petrol and diesel by 2030’. It seems I wasn’t wrong. Except, that is, Zac Goldsmith, a foreign office minister, isn’t saying it quietly. He said in an interview with the Independent of the petrol crisis: “It’s a pretty good lesson on the need to unhook ourselves from dependence on fossil fuels.

Boris Johnson’s dangerous eco-obsession

It is a notable feather in Nigel Farage’s cap that his new evening show on GB News has already become essential viewing for Tory high-ups. Last week brought a series of reports by well-connected commentators suggesting that Boris Johnson was worried about Farage highlighting the government’s chaotic failure to stem the cross-Channel flow of migrant boats. The issue has suddenly shot up the list of issues mentioned by Tory voters, with new polling from Redfield & Wilton Strategies now identifying immigration as their top concern. This week the former Ukip leader has touched another nerve with some Tory MPs by wondering aloud whether their party’s green obsession is reaching a

Could crabs be next on the menu for a Defra ban?

It has been a difficult 2021 for the British shellfish industry. Since the end of the Brexit transition period, fishermen have had to contend with new rules which mean that live mussels, cockles, oysters and other shellfish caught in most of the UK’s waters are no longer allowed to enter the EU. Legal action against the government has been mooted, with environment secretary George Eustice accused of misleading the industry over its post-Brexit arrangements. Given this context and the fact many fishermen live in Tory coastal seats, you might have thought the department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) would be doing all it can to reassure the industry. So Mr

Zac Goldsmith, No. 10’s rapid rebuttal service

It’s a tough gig defending this government. So tough in fact that the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson Allegra Stratton left the role before even giving a single press conference. The past week is a case in point – with No. 10 facing miserable headlines over the ongoing feud between Johnson, his fiancée Carrie Symonds and departed No. 10 aide Dominic Cummings.  Johnson has had to deny making a ‘bodies’ comment on Covid deaths while several inquiries are now underway as to how the funding for the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat first came about. Perhaps it’s little wonder then that these days ministers don’t seem overjoyed to be out

Defra keeps it in the family

Who is in charge at Defra? Technically, it’s the environment secretary George Eustice. But in recent weeks there have been whisperings of the growing influence of the Goldsmith clan. Zac Goldsmith is a minister in the department as well as a close friend of both Boris Johnson and his fiancé Carrie Symonds. Just this weekend, a No. 10 source came out to deny claims from the farming lobby that Symonds and Goldsmith had teamed up in a bid to tie up farmers in red tape to protect the environment. It’s something of a family affair at the department with Goldsmith’s brother Ben a board director at Defra despite breaking his own department’s rules over the

The Tories don’t need Zac back in Richmond. They need Luke Parker

Are the Conservatives sharp enough to be able to beat the Liberal Democrats in battleground Remain-voting seats? We hear today that they might put forward Zac Goldsmith as their candidate for Richmond Park – the same Zac Goldsmith who quit the party in protest at the Heathrow decision, then triggered a by-election and ran as an independent. But he lost to a Lib Dem. So now he has decided to rejoin the party and run again – and oddly, they’ve let him. He’s in the final three. To select him would be a huge tactical own goal for the Tories: as Neil Kinnock found out, when voters turn something down, they don’t like to be

Exclusive: Zac Goldsmith prepares to crawl back to the Tories in Richmond

Of all the politicians to have a bad 2016, Zac Goldsmith is high on that list. The former Conservative MP for Richmond Park managed to lose not one but two elections. First, the mayoral contest against Sadiq Khan after a tawdry campaign, and later his seat when he called a by-election after the Government approved Heathrow. Remember how principled Goldsmith had said he would quit as a Tory MP if his party approved a third runway at Heathrow? He didn’t say that he’d call a hissy-fit by-election and stand as an independent – a strategy that annoyed his constituents so much that they returned a Lib Dem. Ever since it has

High life | 29 December 2016

What a great year this has been, what a good mood I’m in, why, it’s almost like being in love. The year 2016 will be seen as the worst ever by many patients of Dr Klinghoffer, the famous German psychiatrist who treats those suffering from the extreme distress of post-electoral disappointment syndrome, and a man about to make a fortune treating the poor dears. There are many Brits under the Herr Doktor’s care, and his clinic, situated near Ossining, New York, resembled a British retreat for broken-down thespians following 23 June of this annus mirabilis. Now more American voices have been added, and when I last spoke to Dr Klinghoffer

Yes, Zac lost. So isn’t it time to stop bashing him?

It’s easy to see the allure of ongoing Zac bashing. Can there be a pleasure more satisfying for all of us, stuck in our daily work-home, bread-butter routine, than watching a public humiliation of a wealthy tree-hugger, son of a billionaire with ‘a face carved out of caramel by angels’. Let’s kick him while he’s down, and again, and again. What? His brother Ben described him as ‘unstoppable’? Does it mean Zac still wants a career? Let’s kick him so that he never forgets, and never gets back into the public life. Leading the gang of detractors is a wealthy Guardian journalist: Owen Jones. It remains unclear what exactly drives

Is support for Brexit growing in Richmond Park?

‘The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit government,’ said Sarah Olney, the victorious Liberal Democrat candidate in the Richmond Park by-election. She went on to announce that she would interpret the result as a personal mandate to vote against the triggering of article 50 if it comes down to a Commons vote. The LibDems were perfectly entitled to try to turn the Richmond Park by-election into a protest against Brexit – in spite of Zac Goldsmith’s protests that it was all about Heathrow’s third runway. If you resign your seat and cause a by-election, opposition parties are entitled to fight on

Fraser Nelson

We need a Zac’s law: MPs who trigger a by-election should not be allowed to stand again

Even I can’t say I’m upset that Zac Goldsmith has lost his seat. For the last few days, now, my journey into work has been an assault course created by cheery Liberal Democrat activists campaigning in Richmond – they earned their victory. Not once did I see anyone campaigning for Zac Goldsmith. Not that I wanted to see any of them:  this whole by-election was an elaborate hissy fit by Zac. Voters were being used as political props, to add extra theatricality to his flouncing out of the Tory Party. If he wanted to resign the whip to fight Heathrow, he should have done so. But to resign his seat


Zac Goldsmith’s brother has a tantrum

Last night the Liberal Democrats managed to overturn Zac Goldsmith’s 23,000 majority in Richmond Park. While Goldsmith was visibly downcast over the result, the former London mayoral candidate did manage to put his disappointment to one side as he wished his successor Sarah Olney well in her role. Alas, the same can’t be said for everyone in the Goldsmith clan. Early this morning as rumours began to grow that Olney had clinched victory, Zac’s brother Ben Goldsmith took to social media to brand Olney ‘unimaginably drab’ — ‘even by Lib Dem standards’. With the ‘drab’ Olney going on to beat his brother at the polls, Mr S is unsurprised the

Katy Balls

Liberal Democrats oust Zac Goldsmith in Richmond Park by-election

It’s happened. Early this morning the Liberal Democrats managed to cause an upset and overturn Zac Goldsmith’s 23,000 majority in the Richmond Park by-election. Sarah Olney, the winning Lib Dem candidate, won just under 50pc of the entire vote, with 20,510 votes to Goldsmith’s 18,638 — earning her a majority of 1,872. Since Goldsmith stepped down over Heathrow to stand as an independent, the Lib Dems have piled all their time and resources into winning back the seat, which they held until 2010. As the weeks have gone on, the party have grown increasingly confident about their chances — releasing internal polling on Wednesday which predicted a narrow win, with one Lib Dem source describing