The constituency of Richmond Park has been a good one for the party. It has been won, held and lost by the party in recent years. The conservative majority in the constituency is large at present, however the mood can swing quickly. In recent weeks a by election has been won by the party in a conservative ward, so this is not a safe seat for either party.

The key issue within the constituency of Richmond Park is the mayoral plans of the MP Zac Goldsmith. He is committed to standing in the election for mayor and issued a vote amongst his constituents asking them if they approved of him entering the primary.  A large number voted and they were overwhelmingly in  favour. This means that Goldsmith is free to stand.

In the letter that was sent to residents Goldsmith made it clear that he would not stand down whilst the campaign was underway. What was not clear was whether he would stand down if he won. It is not clear how Conservative members in other parts of London would feel about Goldsmith having two roles. There might be questions in the campaign that forces Goldsmith to make a commitment. This is something which the party will watch for.

In the case of the current mayor he did stand down in Henley immediately on winning the mayoralty. It would be a natural course of action, however the risk of the loss of the seat might lead to some delay in this. There is no absolute requirement. The current mayor is an MP, however a resignation would be expected under normal circumstances.

The problem for the conservatives if Goldsmith does not stand down is that they could face issues in 2020. The mayoral cycle runs to 2020, and General Election could be at the same time.

The situation is not clear. Of course Goldsmith has to win the nomination which seems within his grasp. He then needs to beat Labour, probably represented by Tessa Jowell which could be quite a challenge in the mid term. There are, therefore, many reasons why there may not be a by election but it is certainly one to watch.