SINGER Billy Bragg has told the Daily Echo why he is organising a tactical voting campaign aimed at ousting Dorset's Tory MPs.

The left-wing entertainer, who lives in the Dorset village of Burton Bradstock, wants Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters to "trade votes" on June 7. He has launched a website,, and plans to canvass on the streets to promote his cause.

Dorset was the only county to remain true blue at the 1997 general election - but the Conservative vote dropped so sharply that tactical voting could have unseated any of the county's Tories.

Mr Bragg plans to vote Liberal Democrat in West Dorset in a bid to unseat the local Tory MP. In return, a Lib Dem supporter will vote Labour in Dorset South, where Labour is within 77 votes of unseating Conservative Ian Bruce.

He hopes his campaign will win support in Mid Dorset and North Poole, where the Lib Dems need only a 0.7 per cent swing to take the seat.

"We've had a few e-mails from people in Mid-Dorset and North Poole who are interested in taking part. I'm trying to encourage them to look at doing some vote trading with South Dorset," he said.

He said tactical voting would not be necessary if Britain had proportional representation. "People did it in quite large numbers at the last election but I don't think it's been so organised as this time," he said. "I think the electorate is a lot more sophisticated than politicians imagine."

Mr Bragg's campaign has been derided by South Dorset MP Ian Bruce, who said only a handful of people had registered their interest on the website.

Mid Dorset and North Poole MP Christopher Fraser said: "This election is a two-horse race about who runs Britain. The Liberal Democrats will promise the earth but they will never be in government to deliver anything."