THE former wife of Poole’s Conservative MP Robert Syms is standing as an independent in today’s Richmond Park by-election.

The by-election was triggered by the decision of former Tory Zac Goldsmith to resign his seat and fight as an independent in protest at the government’s plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

The Conservatives are not fielding a candidate, but Fiona-Natasha Syms has pledged to join the party if elected.

She is listed as senior parliamentary assistant to Mr Syms in the House of Commons’ register of members’ interests. The Liberal Democrats are mounting a challenge for the seat, with the Green Party standing aside.

The couple announced their separation in 2007 but are not divorced.

Ladbrokes has offered odds of 1/3 on Mr Goldsmith winning and 9/4 for Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Olney.

Labour’s Christian Wolmar stood at 100/1, Ms Syms at 200/1 and independent David Powell at 500/1.

Also standing are Howling Laud Hope for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, Maharaja Jammu and Kashmir for the One Love Party and Dominic Francis Stockford for the Christian People’s Alliance.