Veteran Southport journalist Martin Hovden writes: Just two weeks to go to the general election and it’s time for Southport voters to face the harsh reality of politics.

There’s no easy way to say this, but no matter how passionate and loyal Southport residents are to one particular party, tactical voting (switch your support to another party to gain the result you want) is the only way to support Brexit or to stop it.

Jus a few weeks ago, Southport was very much a three-horse race between the Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. That has now changed.

Today’s polling results by Yougov in The Times reveal the Tories are on course for a 68 seat majority, while Labour could lose 50 seats. The Lib Dems are predicted to gain just one seat in the whole of the UK (Southport is number 12 on the Lib Dem target list).

Yougov are one of the few polling organisations to accurately predict the 2017 election result.

So with the Lib Dems highly unlikely to win in the resort, it’s now a straight fight between Tory Damien Moore and Labour’s Liz Savage.

These are the 2017 results in Southport:
CONSERVATIVE 18,541 (38.66%)
LABOUR 15,627 (32.59%)
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT 12,661 (26.40%)
UKIP 1,127 (2.35%)

Do the maths. The only way for Tory Damien Moore to be defeated is for Lib Dem supporters to switch to Labour.

As the campaign has progressed, support has dramatically fallen away from the Lib Dems, especially after leader Jo Swinson was savaged by the audience in last Friday’s Question Time on BBC 1. People remember the haste by the Lib Dems to enter a coalition with the Tories and their support for austerity. And of course, their betrayal of students over tuition fees.

And what convinced me the local Lib Dems are really concerned about their chances on 12 December was the unusual move this week by the town’s former MP Lib Dem John Pugh to issue a public statement urging people to vote tactically. He’s an intelligent man. He was pleading for votes. Not the sign of a party confident of success.

Labour still has many huddles to overcome in Southport – the main one being leader Jeremy Corbyn. He’s not popular with a large number of people. They fear he will ruin the country with his left-wing economic policies. Others praise him for his compassion and support for ordinary workers and their families.

But many also say the alternative – Boris Johnson – is far worse.

This is definitely going to be a “hold-your-nose” election in Southport with people voting for a party they don’t usually support, but they do so for the greater good.

I’ve lost count of the number of people – both young and old – who tell me they’ve never voted Tory in their life, but they want Brexit and they want the EU referendum result carried out. So they are going to vote tactically.

Whatever your view, don’t waste your vote on Thursday 12 December- and don’t squeeze your nose too hard.