Sarah Olney


Sarah Jane Olney (née McGibbon; born 11 January 1977) is a British Liberal Democrat politician and former accountant who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond Park since 2019, and previously from 2016 to 2017.[1][2][3][4] Olney has served as the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport and for Business and Industrial Strategy since January 2020. She has also served as the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change under Sir Ed Davey since September 2020.

Sarah Olney

Olney in 2019
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for
Energy and Climate Change
Assumed office
1 September 2020
LeaderSir Ed Davey
Preceded byWera Hobhouse
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business and Industrial Strategy
Assumed office
6 January 2020
LeaderSir Ed Davey
Preceded bySam Gyimah (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport
Assumed office
6 January 2020
LeaderSir Ed Davey
Preceded byWera Hobhouse
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education
In office
8 May 2017  16 June 2017
LeaderTim Farron
Preceded byJohn Pugh
Succeeded byLayla Moran
Member of Parliament
for Richmond Park
Assumed office
12 December 2019
Preceded byZac Goldsmith
Majority7,766 (11.9%)
In office
2 December 2016  3 May 2017
Preceded byZac Goldsmith
Succeeded byZac Goldsmith
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for International Trade
In office
6 January 2020  1 September 2020
LeaderSir Ed Davey & Mark Pack (Acting)
Preceded byChuka Umunna
Succeeded byChristine Jardine
Personal details
Born
Sarah Jane McGibbon

(1977-01-11) 11 January 1977 (age 44)
Frimley, Surrey, England
Political partyLiberal Democrats
Spouse(s)
Benjamin Olney
(m. 2002)
Children2
Alma materKing's College London
Websitewww.saraholney.com

She was the constituency's MP for six months, from a by-election in December 2016 to the general election in June 2017, and then two years later, she regained the seat at the 2019 general election, facing off against Zac Goldsmith of the Conservative Party in all three elections. She was the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for International Trade from January 2020 to September 2020, and was Spokesperson for Education from May 2017 to June 2017. Whilst out of Parliament, she was a financial accountant for Historic Royal Palaces, from 2018 to 2019.[4]

Early life and career


Olney was born in Frimley, Surrey in 1977 to parents Ian McGibbon and Rosalyn McGibbon.[5][6] She was educated at All Hallows Catholic School in Farnham and then studied English Literature and Language at King's College London.[7][8] She initially worked as a bookseller in Hatchards, Piccadilly, from 1998 to 2000.[4]

Olney became a qualified accountant at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 2016.[9][4] 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.[10][11]

Political career


Olney joined the Liberal Democrats in July 2015, soon after the general election, in the realisation that she was a liberal dissatisfied with the direction of the United Kingdom.[11][12]

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.[13] 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.[14][15]

On 1 December 2016, after overturning a majority of over 23,000 votes, Olney was elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond Park.[16] She received 20,510 votes (49.6% of total votes), giving her a majority of 1,872 votes (4.5%).[12] She was the only female Liberal Democrat MP in the 2015–2017 parliament. 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 afterward.[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, rather than 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's incumbent MP Rupa Huq. 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.[20]

At 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 just 45 votes.[21]

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.[22]

In 2019, she was officially confirmed as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Richmond Park at the next general election.[23] She regained the seat with a 6% swing to her party and a majority of 7,766.[24]

Views

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][16] She believed that another referendum should have been held once the exact terms of Britain's exit from the EU had been announced.[26] While being interviewed by Julia Hartley-Brewer of talkRADIO, Olney could not defend her party's position on holding a second referendum, and she hung up the call, with a staff member claiming that Olney had another interview scheduled.[27] Olney opposes the building of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.[28]

In May 2021, alongside celebrities and other public figures, Olney was a signatory to an open letter from Stylist magazine which called on the government to address what it described as an "epidemic of male violence" by funding an "ongoing, high-profile, expert-informed awareness campaign on men’s violence against women and girls".[29]

Personal life


In 2002, she married Benjamin (Ben) James Olney, a town planner.[14] The couple have a son and a daughter. They have also had another son, who is deceased.[4]

See also


References


  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. "Perspective on Politics" (PDF). InTouch. London: King's College London. Spring 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  3. "Interview: Sarah Olney ACCA, Liberal Democrat MP | ACCA Global". www.accaglobal.com. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  4. "Olney, Sarah Jane, (born 11 Jan. 1977), MP (Lib Dem) Richmond Park, Dec. 2016–2017 and since 2019". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u288426. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  5. "Sarah Olney interview part 1: Before becoming an MP". Liberal Democrat Voice. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  6. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  7. "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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. "Sarah Olney". uk.linkedin.com. LinkedIn.
  11. 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.
  12. "Lib Dems oust Goldsmith in by-election". BBC News. 2 December 2016. Archived from the original on 2 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  13. 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.
  14. "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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Horton, Helena (2 December 2016). "Lib Dems' new MP Sarah Olney dragged off-air after Brexit grilling in car crash radio interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  18. Elgot, Jessica (25 December 2016). "Sarah Olney: 'There is something symbolic about this victory'". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 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. Murphy, Joe (27 April 2018). "Police quiz ex-Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney over by-election 'spending breach'". Evening Standard. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  21. "Election 2017: Richmond Park". BBC News. 9 September 2017. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  22. Mark Pack (9 September 2017). "Vince Cable appoints new Chief of Staff". Archived from the original on 3 December 2017. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
  23. Pack, Mark. "Sarah Olney re-selected in Richmond Park constituency". www.markpack.org.uk. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  24. "Richmond Park parliamentary constituency - Election 2019 - BBC News" via www.bbc.com.
  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. "Sarah Olney MP walks off interview with TalkRADIO | Julia Hartley-Brewer" via www.youtube.com.
  28. 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.
  29. ""We're calling on you to act now": read Stylist's open letter to Priti Patel about ending male violence against women and girls". Stylist. Retrieved 20 May 2021.