A South American diversion has taken precedence over the Liberal Democrat fight for Selby.

Candidate Jeremy Wilcock's dedicated campaigning was put on a temporary hold as he and his wife, Liz, jetted to the other side of the world to meet the newest member of their family.

Eight-and-a-half month old Annaliese is now living at the family's Driffield home after leaving Guatemala following a four-year process to adopt her.

Mr Wilcock said: "The timing wasn't great. It fell at the wrong time in the first week of the election campaign, but this is something you build your life around and it was very clear what the priority was."

Annaliese was collected and brought back after the completion of a long process involving the British Government and Guatemalan courts.

Mr Wilcock said: "There were a lot of questions, we were interviewed and Annaliese's natural mother was interviewed.

"Basically, we had to accept the fact that it would take a long time, and there should not be any short cuts in something like this."

The adoption was carried out with an agency based in Doncaster.

Mr Wilcock said: "Both Liz and I are internationally minded. We have travelled widely, including in Latin America, and lived in Spain. We know there are a lot of unfortunate children and big families in South America.

"Although Annaliese now lives here, she will know and be proud of her origins. We speak to her in Spanish and when she's older we will contact people from her community who are living in this area.

"We went to Guatemala for a week to get to know Annaliese before bringing her back here. She is a wonderful girl."

Updated: 11:14 Thursday, May 31, 2001