It may have taken until the final few days of the campaign, but the question of tactical voting is now at the fore after senior Labour figures condoned voting for Liberal Democrat candidates in certain seats as a way to "keep the Tories out." Schools Secretary Ed Balls told the New Statesman that he always wants the Labour candidate to win but acknowledged there was "an issue" in certain seats where the Tory and Liberal Democrat candidates are frontrunners. While stopping short of saying Labour voters should vote Liberal Democrat, Balls urged Lib Dem supporters in races where its candidate is not competitive to "bite their lip" and vote Labour. Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell has said tactical voting was a "good thing," with Welsh Minister Peter Hain going even further, telling BBC Radio 4's Today show: "I want every Labour candidate to win, but many are not going to be in a position to win. I think it's important for people to act intelligently in this election."
Inevitably, the opposition parties have hit back. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said that attempts to convince Brits to vote to keep one party out instead of voting to bring their favored party in was symptomatic of the "old politics" he was fighting, and Conservative leader David Cameron claimed that voting Lib Dem could keep Gordon Brown in power. "What seems to be happening," said Cameron to reporters, "is senior Labour politicians are saying that if you want to keep Gordon Brown in Downing Street you vote Lib Dem. That backs up what we have always said if you want on Friday a new government that rolls up its sleeves, starts to clear up the mess, then you need to vote Conservative on Thursday."
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