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Tuesday, 27 February, 2001, 17:58 GMT
Matthew Taylor: Treasury Spokesman
By BBC News Online's Ben Davies
Matthew Taylor is one of those MPs who has spent all but a few months of his adult life in the House of Commons.
Politically active from an early age, if he had no idea that he wanted to be an MP he certainly made all the right moves.
He was involved in his first election in 1979 at the age of 16, joined the Cornwall anti-nuclear alliance a year later, then went on to study politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford.
Early success saw him leading Liberal participation in a broad left coalition before becoming president of the students' union.
In 1986 he was assigned to the then Truro MP David Penhaligon as an economics researcher.
Tragically Mr Penhaligon died in a car crash within months and against all the odds Mr Taylor was selected by the party to run as the Liberal candidate in the following by-election, which he won.
Baby of the House
A few months later he retained the seat at the 1987 general election.
At the age of 24 he was an MP which gave him a certain celebrity including invitations to appear on chat shows and the BBC's Question Time programme.
Apparently the arrival of another "baby of the house" was an immense relief to the now Lib Dem leader, Charles Kennedy, who had held that dubious honour for several years.
Promotion to the frontbench came swiftly - perhaps not surprising in a small parliamentary party - when Mr Taylor was named local government spokesman.
He had backed Paddy Ashdown's successful bid to become leader.
Eleven years later he ran Mr Kennedy's successful leadership campaign after Mr Ashdown stepped down.
The reward for his loyalty was to be made the Lib Dems' Treasury spokesman where he has been a steady pair of hands.
He has attacked Labour over its decision to shed a penny from the basic rate of income tax when pledges to reduce NHS waiting lists were not being met.
He has also criticised the apparent unwillingness among many Labour politicians to argue the case for the euro.
Unlike his predecessor, Malcolm Bruce, he has advocated co-operation with Labour over issues like constitutional reform.
Tax to spend
On tax he announced at the last Lib Dem conference that his party would raise the upper rate to 50% for people earning over £100,000.
Mr Taylor is the adopted son of Kenneth, the television script writer best known for Jewel in the Crown.
He is unmarried - despite what some have called matinee idol good looks and the fact he owns an MG Midget.
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