A FORMER vet who had a legal run-in with Taunton Deane Conservative MP Rebecca Pow earlier this year plans to unseat her at the next General Election.

Maurice Kirk, 76, of Westgate Street, Taunton, has announced he intends to stand in the poll, which must be held by 2024.

Mr Kirk has been banned from contacting Ms Pow directly following a trial in which he was found not guilty of stalking her.

The judge slapped a restraining order on him at the end of the trial, during which the jury heard Ms Pow had received a letter from Mr Kirk containing a white powder, which he said was toothpaste. He is appealing against the order.

Somerset County Gazette:

Maurice Kirk during his trial at Exeter Crown Court, where he was acquitted of stalking Rebecca Pow MP.

Mr Kirk, a one-time buddy of hard-drinking actor the late Oliver Reed, says he has since unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Conservative party and the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle to appoint another MP to represent him.

"I've been blocked. No-one will appoint an alternative MP to investigate a civil claim for damages I have against G4S concerning my time in prison in South Wales," said Mr Kirk.

"The democratic situation in our country is being undermined.

"That's why I'm looking into standing for Parliament. There's still political blood circulating in my veins and there's so much wrong with Taunton.

"I've heard a rumour that Boris might call an early election - if that was early next year, it would suit me fine."

Mr Kirk, a Bristol University graduate, described himself as a "dyed-in-the-wool Conservative" who is looking into running as an Independent Conservative.

He added: "As an MP, I'd be fearful of the amount of reading that needs to be done and there's an awful lot of paperwork. But I've been doing that all my life."

Mr Kirk is no stranger to controversy having been struck off by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2002; arrested in America after landing his plane near President George W. Bush's Texan ranch in 2008; and spending time in Cardiff Prison for harassing a psychiatrist who had diagnosed him as paranoid.

He has flown to many parts of the world and in 2016 went missing in Africa after suffering engine failure during a vintage rally.

More recently, he escaped with only minor injuries after he crashed his light aircraft in Lower Durston