Zac Goldsmith will remain in his post as Environment Minister despite being voted out of office by the public, it has been confirmed.
The former Tory MP lost his seat in Richmond Park to the Liberal Democrats’ Sarah Olney.
However, he will remain in the cabinet after being made a life peer, Downing Street has announced.
It comes days after Nicky Morgan was given a peerage to continue as Culture Secretary – despite quitting as an MP.
She will serve as an unelected Secretary of State in the Prime Minister’s top team barely a year after claiming ‘I would not serve in a Boris Johnson cabinet’ in September 2018.
Downing Street said: ‘The Rt Hon Zac Goldsmith has been confirmed as a Minister of State (unpaid) at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for International Development.
Seedy lists of party apparatchiks appointed by power hungry party leaders & insulated from any democratic pressure for 15 yrs? No thanks.
— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) July 10, 2012
‘The Queen has been pleased to signify Her intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on Zac Goldsmith.’
Goldsmith’s appointment is likely to prove awkward as he has been a strong opponent of unaccountable politicians.
In 2012, he tweeted: ‘Seedy lists of party apparatchiks appointed by power hungry party leaders & insulated from any democratic pressure for 15 yrs? No thanks.’
Goldsmith’s former seat was held by Ms Olney for six months between December 2016 and June 2017 when he triggered a by-election after quitting the Tories to fight Heathrow expansion as an independent candidate.
The 44-year-old had held the seat for the Tories since 2010, securing a majority of 23,000 in 2015, but lost to his Lib Dem rival by 18,638 to 20,510 after the party fought a successful anti-Brexit campaign.
The scion of the eponymous banking dynasty clawed back the constituency by the thinnest of margins, just 45 votes, in the snap election of 2017 after returning to the Conservative fold.
The 2017 result was finally called at around 7am after multiple recounts.
Mr Goldsmith was rewarded for his change of heart with the position of environment minister in Boris Johnson’s government.
But staunchly pro-Brexit Mr Goldsmith was always an awkward fit in a constituency that voted 72% Remain in the EU referendum.
At the December 2019 election, Ms Olney polled 34,559 votes compared to Mr Goldsmith’s 26,793 on a turnout of 79% of the electorate.