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Friday, 11 May, 2001, 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK
The independent candidate's fight for a seat
An accicent and emergency department
Can Dr Taylor save his local hospital casualty department?
Last time it was the man in the white suit, Martin Bell, who took on an established party's candidate and won. This time it's a man in a white coat, Dr Richard Taylor, who's about to take on a government minister.

Dr Taylor is standing as an independant candidate in Wyre Forest because he's outraged about the downgrading of the local hospital in Kidderminster and the closure of its accident and emergency department.

His protest group already has a controlling majority in the local council, and there's every chance he'll do well on June 7th.

When NHS officials decided to close the accident and emergency unit at the Kidderminister hospital they had little understanding of the political trauma that would follow - the major casualties may well end up being the established political parties.

Marches on the streets turned into a pressure group called Health Concern - which won seats on the council and is now fielding Dr Taylor as a candidate for the general election.

The Labour party has carried out an internal poll to try to find out if Dr Taylor could win at the general election but they won't reveal the results.

What we do know is that health concern is now the party of local government, it has seventeen councillors on Wyre Forest district council and a rough straw poll on the streets would indicate many voters know about Dr Taylor and Health Concern and feel some disatisfaction with the government and the local MP David Lock.

The Liberal Democrats haven't yet announced their candidate in Wyre Forest, but the Tories have been quick to spot the dangers for Labour.

Within an hour of an election being called, they were on the streets with their prospective parliamentary candidate Mark Simpson hoping that tactical voting might work in his favour. The UK Independence party are also fielding a candidate in Wyre Forest.

As he winds up his ministerial business in the Lord Chancellor's department at Whitehall, David Lock prepares to fight back, he points out that single issue parties have traditionally failed to send representatives to Westminster.

But Dr Richard Taylor is part of a growing number of single issue candidates fighting this election, in Bedford, in Birmingham and in Dudley the mainstream parites are facing opponents, the like of which they've never encountered before.

You can also find a full list of all the candidates on the BBC's Vote 2001 website.

Can the Independent candidate win his seat?

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