RON BALL, Warwickshire’s former police and crime commissioner, has decided to stand as an independent candidate in the Richmond Park parliamentary by-election on Thursday 1st December.
The by-election has been triggered by the resignation as Conservative MP of Zac Goldsmith in protest over the government’s decision to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
Mr Goldsmith himself will be standing as an independent in the by-election and both the Tories and UKIP have said they will not field candidates against him.
Today (Monday) Mr Ball told the Herald he was standing for two reasons – as a former British Airways pilot he was in favour of a third runway at Heathrow and as a pro-Leave campaigner he didn’t want to let the Liberal Democrats turn the by-election into a second referendum on Europe.
Mr Ball is actually a member of the Conservative Party in Solihull, where he now lives, and said he would make this clear to the voters in Richmond Park during the by-election campaign.
The former police commissioner believes that Mr Goldsmith should have consulted the voters before going ahead with his pledge to resign and force a by-election that will cost them – the taxpayers – around £250,000.
Said Mr Ball: “He should have told them that while he’d made his position clear on this it would not achieve anything. He could have given them the opportunity to say what they thought. He should have told them that, in the circumstances, although he had made his pledge, the most sensible thing would be not to go ahead with it.”
He added: “The whole thing has descended into a farce and is a bit of an abuse of democracy.”
And he said that if he found himself to be just one of 15 candidates – thus turning the by-election into “a circus” – he would withdraw his candidature. However, if he decides to do that, he would have to do it before the nominations close.
After that date he would be a candidate whether he liked it or not.