Politically active from an early age Taylor, the grandson of Liberal MP Sir Percy Harris, first achieved success in 1985 when he won election as President of the Oxford Student Union on a Liberal/SDP ticket. On leaving university Taylor joined the staff of David Penhaligon, Liberal MP for Truro, in 1986 as a researcher. When Penhaligon was tragically killed later in the same year, Taylor was selected to fight the ensuing by-election for the Liberals. He successfully held the seat and remained an MP until he retired at the 2010 election. In parliament he spoke for the party on a range of issues including, local government and the environment, rising to Treasury spokesman under Charles Kennedy. After his retirement, he went to the House of Lords as Baron Taylor of Goss Moor.