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 A/V REPORTS
Dr Richard Taylor
"This is a unique experience"
 real 56k

Friday, 8 June, 2001, 02:03 GMT 03:03 UK
Independent doctor trounces Labour
Dr Richard Taylor
Dr Richard Taylor was angered by NHS cuts
An independent candidate standing in protest at cuts to a local hospital has won a stunning victory over Labour.

Dr Richard Taylor, standing on an 'Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern' platform won the marginal seat of Wyre Forest, Worcestershire, by a majority of 17,630 votes.

He unseated junior Lord Chancellor's Department minister David Lock - the first government minister to lose his seat.


The way I view this is as a tremendous reaction from the people against a very powerful government

Dr Richard Taylor
Dr Taylor polled 28,487 votes to Labour's 17,630 - a huge 58% of the total vote.

Dr Taylor, a retired consultant physician, has run a long-running campaign to prevent the downgrading of facilities at Kidderminster General Hospital.

His protest group already has a controlling majority in the local council.

Privilege

Speaking at his count, Dr Taylor said: "I am thrilled, honoured and deeply touched that people have held faith in me.

"The way I view this is as a tremendous reaction from the people against a very powerful government, against a very powerful political system that over-rides the will of the people.

"I have been very careful not to make any promises over what I can actually achieve.

"We have shown it is possible for people to tackle and win against the political system.

"We have shown that the people's voice must be heard."

Dr Taylor added: "Over 23 years it has been my tremendous privilege to look after patients in this area. I think this almost gives one an unfair advantage over other candidates."

Rival parties have already predicted that Dr Taylor was doomed to failure, even as he celebrated his success.

Fellow candidates claimed he had made grandiose promises which would stir resentment among constituents when he failed to deliver.

Dr Taylor said: "The severity of the downgrading here has been unique. There are 100,000 people within three or four miles of the hospital but now they have to travel up to 20 or 30 miles just to get to another district hospital in Worcester.

"I have never promised to people that by getting me in they will get things back at the hospital. I have promised I will fight tooth and nail for their aims and issues."

The Liberal Democrats controversially withdrew their candidate from the seat to give Dr Taylor a free run against Labour.

The constituency was won in 1997 by Mr Lock with a 7,000 majority.


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