Zac Goldsmith: How the politician who 'threw it all away' became the cabinet's green champion

A disastrous 2016 saw Zac Goldsmith, DEFRA's new cabinet minister, described as the politician 'who threw it all away'. But since then his career trajectory has improved immeasurably, finds James Fair.

Just hours after Zac Goldsmith had lost his Richmond constituency to the Liberal Democrats in a by-election he had called, the website Politico summed up his career with the harsh and – as it turns out – less than prophetic line: “Goldsmith’s future contribution may well be as the answer to a quiz question: Name the politician who threw it all away in 2016.”

The story, headlined ‘Zac Goldsmith, Britain’s worst politician?’, laid out how the heir to a an estimated £300m fortune had spectacularly self-destructed, first by running a controversial campaign against Sadiq Khan to be mayor of London – described by some critics as "dog whistle" and "racist" – and then by resigning his seat over the Conservatives’ decision to support proposals for Heathrow’s third runway. He stood as an independent candidate and saw his 25,000 majority wiped out by Sarah Olney.

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