Shock Local Anti-Brexit Vote Shakes U.K.

Britain’s pro-European voters gave the government a black eye on Friday by kicking out an MP who shares Prime Minister Theresa May’s views on enforcing the country’s exit from the European Union. Zac Goldsmith, who won a huge majority last year, was a member of the ruling Conservative Party until he resigned over plans to expand Heathrow Airport. His resignation triggered an election for his seat in the House of Commons, which became a virtual referendum on the way May’s government is handling Brexit. The Liberal Democrats say Britain should not rush to exit the EU despite the result of last year’s referendum. They also argue in favor of a “soft Brexit,” which would retain access to the European single market and allow free movement of people, rather than a “hard Brexit,” which would make Britain more independent. The Lib Dem candidate Sarah Olney won a resounding and unexpected victory overnight in the affluent Richmond area of southwest London that had voted strongly to Remain in the EU last year. Goldsmith, a vocal Brexit supporter, has been fired in spectacular fashion, and the effects will hang over the government for months to come.