Lib Dem leader Vince Cable appoints former Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney as chief of staff

Jasper Jolly
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Sarah Olney was a Lib Dem MP for five months (Source: Getty)

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has appointed former Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney as his chief of staff.

She will take one of the most central non-elected roles in England’s third party, working with a new press secretary, Mark Leftly as Cable leads the Lib Dems into the new parliamentary session.

Cable became leader of the party in July, when he stood for the position unopposed.

Cable said: “As an MP, Sarah showed the very best of our party as a strong voice and a clear thinker.”

Olney came to prominence in the Lib Dems after beating the Conservative party’s Zac Goldsmith in a by-election. Goldsmith had resigned, prompting the by-election, in protest at the government’s decision to back a third runway at Heathrow.

Read more: Zac's back: Conservatives take back Richmond Park as Zac Goldsmith returns

That decision, along with Goldsmith’s avowed support of Brexit, helped Olney to defeat him in December 2016. Olney overturned the majority of 23,015 won by Goldsmith in 2015 in the affluent London suburb.

However, in the last General Election in June Goldsmith retook his seat for the Conservatives, despite the Liberal Democrats making gains elsewhere.

Olney’s job will now be focused on further reinvigorating the Lib Dems, who have chosen to campaign on a stridently anti-Brexit platform.

Cable and Olney were both today present at an anti-Brexit march in central London, where the Lib Dem leader addressed the crowd.

Meanwhile, Leftly, a former deputy political editor at the Independent on Sunday newspaper, will start at the beginning of October.

Read more: Richmond Park by-election result: Goldsmith ousted in shock Lib Dem victory

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