Lib Dem fightback to fall short – for now

Five months on from the referendum, one issue continues to crowd out all others in British politics. The fallout from Brexit and attempts to resist it will dominate the agenda for years to come, shaping the narrative and potentially re-aligning our party system. The first meaningful electoral test of that fallout arrives this Thursday, with the Richmond Park By-Election.

The winning camp will inevitably spin the result as a vindication of their own position. If Zac Goldsmith – a Brexiteer – retains one of most pro-Remain constituencies in the country, Leavers will argue that the public back Theresa May in committing the Conservatives to respecting the referendum result, irrespective of how they voted in June.

Alternatively, if Sarah Olney were to reclaim the seat for the Lib Dems (who held it until 2010), it would provide a massive boost to those pushing for a second referendum or at least a watering down of Brexit. The battle lines will harden.

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