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Sarah Jane Olney (née McGibbon; born 11 January 1977)[1][2][3] is a British Liberal Democrat politician and an accountant. She was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond Park for six months from a by-election in December 2016 to the general election in June 2017, having won the seat from the Conservatives.

Sarah Olney
Sarah Olney York 2017.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Richmond Park
In office
1 December 2016 – 3 May 2017
Preceded byZac Goldsmith
Succeeded byZac Goldsmith
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education
In office
8 May 2017 – 16 June 2017
LeaderTim Farron
Preceded byJohn Pugh
Succeeded byLayla Moran
Personal details
Born
Sarah Jane McGibbon

(1977-01-11) January 11, 1977 (age 42)
Surrey, England
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Spouse(s)
Benjamin Olney (m. 2002)
Children2
Alma materKing's College London

Early life and careerEdit

Olney was born in Surrey.[4] She was educated at All Hallows Catholic School in Farnham and then studied English Literature at King's College London.[5][6]

Olney is a qualified accountant.[7] She worked as an accountant at Barclays, Arts & Business, Distilled Ltd, SCi Sales Group and the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington until she entered politics after the 2015 General Election.[8][9]

Political careerEdit

Olney joined the Liberal Democrats in July 2015, soon after the general election, in realisation that she was a liberal dissatisfied with the direction of the United Kingdom.[9][10]

On 25 October 2016, Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith announced his resignation from the House of Commons over his objection to his party's support for a third runway at Heathrow Airport, triggering a by-election in his seat of Richmond Park.[11] Goldsmith stood in the by-election as an independent candidate although he remained a Conservative party member with the support of Nigel Farage’s UKIP, who along with the Conservative party, did not put forward a candidate. On 30 October 2016, Olney was announced as the Liberal Democrats' candidate for the by-election.[12][13]

On 1 December 2016, after a overturning a majority of over 23,000 votes, Olney was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond Park.[14] She received 20,510 votes (49.6% of total votes), giving her a majority of 1,872 votes (4.5%).[10] She was the only female Liberal Democrat MP in the 2015–2017 parliament.

Olney's election campaign was marred by accusations of underhanded tactics by her party.[15][16] The Liberal Democrats were accused of sending out leaflets which mimicked the colours and style of the UK Independence Party, listing endorsements from the party's leader Nigel Farage for Olney's rival Zac Goldsmith. The party was also accused of distributing imitation newspapers, filled with complimentary quotations about Olney. In response to these accusations, Olney told a local newspaper: “There’s nothing underhand or ‘dirty tricks’ about what we did. Our opponents didn’t like it because it was successful”.[16]

Shortly after her election, Olney ended a radio interview in which she was pressed on her support for a second Brexit referendum. Supporting a second referendum became official Liberal Democrat policy shortly after.[17][18]

In the run-up to the 2017 General Election, Olney was recorded urging Liberal Democrats to vote for Labour MPs in seats where Labour candidates stood a better chance of defeating Conservatives than the Liberal Democrat candidates.[19] Olney referred to the Liberal Democrat candidate for Ealing Central and Acton as a "paper candidate" and voiced her support for the Labour Party incumbent Rupa Huq.

In the 2017 general election, Olney narrowly lost her seat to Goldsmith, who stood as the Conservative candidate, polling 45.07% of the vote to Goldsmith's 45.14%, giving Goldsmith a majority of 45.[20]

On 9 September 2017 it was announced that she would be taking up the post of chief of staff for Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable.[21] On 6 November 2017, Olney announced that she had resigned from the job after just six weeks, citing her determination to re-contest her former parliamentary constituency, and the incompatibility of this with the Chief of Staff job. Instead, she was retained by the party on her full-time Chief of Staff salary of £68,000, but for a part-time role as "Special Projects Manager".[22]

It was reported by the Evening Standard in April 2018 that Olney had been interviewed under caution by the police for allegedly breaking official spending limits in the Richmond Park by-election. The Crown Prosecution Service ruled that there was no evidence and closed the case.[23]

In 2019, she was officially confirmed as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the next general election.[24]

ViewsEdit

On the topic of Brexit, Olney voted against the triggering of Article 50, as she had indicated during the by-election campaign that she would do.[25][14] She believes another referendum should be held once the exact terms of Britain's exit from the EU have been announced.[26] However, shortly after the referendum, Olney wrote on her blog that people must "come together" and "make a success of Brexit", adding that the government should not "re-run" the vote.[27][28] Her blog was subsequently deleted after the post received press coverage.

Olney opposes the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.[29] In November 2016, it was revealed that Olney's husband had worked for Heathrow Airport Holdings during its construction of Heathrow Terminal 5.[30]

Personal lifeEdit

Olney has two children with her husband Ben, a town planner.[12]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hope, Christopher; Henderson, Barney. "Richmond Park by-election: Lib Dems' Sarah Olney defeats Zac Goldsmith". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Who is Sarah Olney? New Richmond Park MP who ousted Zac Goldsmith". The Sun. 2 December 2016. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Perspective on Politics" (PDF). InTouch. London: King's College London. Spring 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  5. ^ "All Hallows Catholic School Newsletter" (PDF). allhallows.net. All Hallows Catholic School. December 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 January 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  6. ^ Nagesh, Ashitha (2 December 2016). "Who is Sarah Olney, Richmond Park's new MP who ousted Zac Goldsmith?". Metro. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  7. ^ Henderson, Barney (2 December 2016). "Richmond Park by-election: Lib Dems' Sarah Olney defeats Zac Goldsmith in Brexit backlash". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Sarah Olney". uk.linkedin.com. LinkedIn.
  9. ^ a b Murphy, Joe (23 November 2016). "Lib Dem Sarah Olney: 'Beating Zac Goldsmith in the Richmond Park by-election would be a Brexit game-changer'". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Lib Dems oust Goldsmith in by-election". BBC News. 2 December 2016. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  11. ^ Mason, Rowena; Topham, Gwyn; Elgot, Jessica (25 October 2016). "Zac Goldsmith to resign as Heathrow decision sparks Tory unrest". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Sarah Olney selected for Richmond Park". libdems.org.uk. Liberal Democrats. 30 October 2016. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  13. ^ Press Association (30 October 2016). "Lib Dems' Sarah Olney to contest Richmond Park byelection". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  14. ^ a b Craig, Jon (2 December 2016). "Lib Dem Sarah Olney beats Zac Goldsmith in Richmond Park by-election". Sky News. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  15. ^ Georgie Keate (26 November 2016). "Rivals accused of dirty tricks in by-election fight | News". The Times. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  16. ^ a b Kingston Courier (28 February 2017). ""Dirty tricks" claims come from sore losers, says new MP Olney". Kingston Courier. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  17. ^ Helena Horton, courtesy of talkradio (2 December 2016). "Lib Dems' new MP Sarah Olney dragged off-air after Brexit grilling in car crash radio interview". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  18. ^ "Sarah Olney: 'There is something symbolic about this victory' | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  19. ^ Laura Hughes, Political Correspondent (8 May 2017). "Revealed: Sir Vince Cable urges Lib Dem supporters to back Labour candidates in general election". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Election 2017: Richmond Park". BBC News. 9 September 2017. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  21. ^ Mark Pack (9 September 2017). Cable appoints new Chief of Staff https://www.markpack.org.uk/151374/vince-cable-appoints-new-chief-staff-sarah-olney/%7Ctitle=Vince Cable appoints new Chief of Staff Check |url= value (help). December 2017 Archived Check |archiveurl= value (help) from the original on 3 December 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ 'H.P. Sauce', Private Eye, 1457, 17 November 2017, p. 14.
  23. ^ Murphy, Joe (27 April 2018). "Police quiz ex-Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney over by-election 'spending breach'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  24. ^ Pack, Mark. "Sarah Olney re-selected in Richmond Park constituency". www.markpack.org.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  25. ^ Batchelor, Tom (1 February 2017). "Article 50 Brexit vote: Full list of MPs who backed Theresa May starting official EU negotiations – and those who voted against". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  26. ^ Asthana, Anushka (2 December 2016). "Push for hard Brexit led to Richmond Park win, says new Lib Dem MP". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  27. ^ Laura Hughes, Political Correspondent (26 October 2016). "Lib Dem 'Brexit referendum' candidate for Richmond says people must 'accept' referendum vote". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  28. ^ "Richmond Park by-election on Murnaghan". YouTube. 27 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  29. ^ Gillett, Francesca (2 December 2016). "Who is Sarah Olney? What you need to know about the Liberal Democrat who ousted Zac Goldsmith from Richmond Park". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  30. ^ Post reply (21 November 2016). "REVEALED: Richmond Park Lib Dem candidate's husband worked on Heathrow Terminal 5". Richmond and Twickenham Times. Retrieved 11 November 2019.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Zac Goldsmith
Member of Parliament
for Richmond Park

20162017
Succeeded by
Zac Goldsmith