The independent parliamentary candidate, who became MP for Wyre Forest in a shock result four years ago, has won the backing of the Liberal Democrats in this year's poll.

The Lib Dems have urged their supporters to vote for Richard Taylor, the independent standing as a "health concern" candidate in the Worcestershire constituency.

But Conservative and Labour opponents have accused Dr Taylor of being a Lib Dem candidate in disguise.

Last night, he insisted he would continue to make his own decisions if he was reelected to the House of Commons.

Dr Taylor's win four years ago was the most dramatic result of the 2001 General Election. He beat Labour junior Minister David Locke and won by 17,360 votes, a massive majority. The huge swing against Labour was a reaction against the downgrading of Kidderminster Hospital.

It also demonstrated the potential impact independent candidates can have and sent shockwaves through all three established parties. Labour is hoping to win the seat back, and have selected economist Marc Bayliss.

However, the Conservatives held the seat up until 1997, and are also fighting hard to reclaim it. Their candidate is Mark Garnier