Richmond Park by-election: 53.6% turnout

Polls close in Richmond Park by-election

The party formed a coalition government with the Conservatives under David Cameron in 2010, but was nearly wiped out in the 2015 general election.

Zac Goldsmith has been unseated in a stunning by-election upset by the Liberal Democrats.

He ran as an independent candidate after quitting the Conservative Party over the government's decision to expand nearby Heathrow Airport.

Goldsmith's strengths were his massive local popularity - turning what was a Lib Dem seat until 2010 into a 23,000 Tory majority by 2015 - and his principled stand over a third runway in a constituency already marred by aircraft noise.

Lifelong Labour voter William Palmer, 71, said he would vote Liberal Democrat on Thursday, and that Labour fielding a candidate was "absolutely pointless" in Richmond Park.

To her rival Mr Goldsmith, she said: "I wish you well and assure you I will continue your fight against the expansion of Heathrow".

"In Witney we had to spend the first couple of weeks establishing ourselves as the main challenger - here people will see from the get-go that we are the only challenger to the Conservative Brexit Government, and we are determined to put in an extremely strong challenge for this seat".

Olney's campaign was supported by the Green and Women's Equality Party among others. A year and a half ago, their man won by almost 40% and had a majority of more than 20,000.

Ms Olney said the result was a rejection of the "politics of anger and division", and dissatisfaction with the way Brexit was being handled.

Before being elected to her new role in Parliament on Friday, she worked as an accountant for the National Physical Laboratory - which specialises in measurement - in Bushy Park. She lives in North Kingston with her husband Ben and two children.

The Lib Dems say a shock result would force the government to think again about pursuing a so-called "hard Brexit" divorce from the European Union.

"I will do all I can to make sure of it".

She said: "I think the Labour vote in Richmond has proved very resilient in the past, and I think it will be resilient again".

She shares Mr Goldsmith's views on Heathrow, opposing the building of a third runway at the hub.

This is the second election that Goldsmith has lost this year, after he was defeated by Sadiq Khan for the London mayoralty in May.

The polls have just closed in Richmond Park and counting is about to begin. Sky News reported that this is the highest in a United Kingdom mainland by-election since the Conservatives won Crewe and Nantwich from Labour in 2008.

He stood as an independent candidate.

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