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Labour backbenchers beg Labour not to take Zac Goldsmiths seat but why?

The Guardian reports Zac Goldsmith stands down in Richmond Park to protest against the Heathrow decision, just as he said he would. A man of honour keeping his promise? That’s not how he may emerge on byelection polling day.
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Yet again, this spoiled nonentity is cosseted by his party: though he stands as an “independent”, the Conservatives will try to save his bacon by setting no candidate against him, to avoid splitting their vote. That makes it harder for the Liberal Democrats to snatch back this seat – but by no means unlikely, after their strong showing in Witney.
There have rarely been so many good reasons for expelling an MP – and Richmond Park might just do it. Start with his character. In his ill-judged London mayoral campaign against Sadiq Khan, Goldsmith hired toxic spin-master Lynton Crosby to help him descend into the lowest anti-Muslim racism. His lacklustre performance was only memorable for his repeated smears alleging Khan had “given platforms, oxygen and even cover – over and over and over again – to those who seek to do our police and capital harm.” He invented non-existent “links” to fanatics, claiming Khan “repeatedly legitimised those with extremist views”, as he wrote in the Mail on Sunday.

His absurd claim that Khan would be Jeremy Corbyn’s “man in London” as a leftist puppet of his party’s leader was the normal politics: after all, Corbyn is Labour leader, later claiming Khan’s victory as his own success.
What was shockingly abnormal was Goldsmith’s attempt to split London’s voters along hypersensitive racial and religious lines. His campaign literature, sent to Indians, Tamils and Sikhs, suggested that Khan, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, would not “stand up” for them as mayor. Farcically offensive to all communities, he even suggested Khan would raise taxes on their family jewellery, assuming gold is what motivates non-Muslims. Goldsmith repeatedly used the word “radical” about Khan, with clear connotations of “radicalised”.
But he lost. London rejected him and in electing its first Muslim mayor showed it had no truck with such filth. Now Richmond Park must do the same as a lesson to any politician tempted to lever themselves up through racism.
That is the prime reason why Labour MP Lisa Nandy has called for her party not to put up a candidate, giving the Lib Dems a clear run to unite all those against Goldsmith. Clive Lewis, from the Corbyn wing of Labour, and Jonathan Reynolds, from the non-Corbyn wing, join her in calling on Labour to stand back.
Richmond Park voted remain by 70%, so there is no better place to make that case and surely no better candidate to beat than hard Brexiteer Goldsmith.

Will Labour stand back? Not a chance. There are good reasons why Labour detests the Lib Dems for what they did in the coalition. Old rivalries locally die hard: Lib Dems often fight dirty on the ground.
But for a host of bad old tribal reasons, the Nandy, Lewis, Reynolds idea isn’t supported even by Labour MPs who say they back electoral reform and the great cultural shift proportional representation implies.
Ask why not and they say, “It’d look like a backroom stitch-up”, “We must give voters a chance to vote Labour”, “We’d look weak if we didn’t stand”, “This would set a bad precedent for other seats”, “Our local councillors in the area wouldn’t agree”, “The NEC won’t have it” and so on. 

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