AN election hopeful is hoping to put Labour back on the political map in West Dorset at next month's general election.

Lee Rhodes believes the local Liberal Democrats have been a "weak opposition" to the Conservatives in Dorset and thinks his party is the only voice that can protect public services from funding cuts.

Mr Rhodes said he can no longer trust the Lib Dems after they entered into coalition government with the Conservatives in 2010.

He said: "Going back to 2010, I wasn't expecting the coalition government to come about.

"I had voted tactically at that time to vote against a potential Conservative government but I was very disconcerted with what went on."

He added: "In Dorset we offer an opposing viewpoint. The Liberal Democrats have not offered that locally. They have really been a very weak opposition, particularly on housing.

"Only Labour can be that strong voice that will stand up to the Conservatives. What I'm hoping to see is Labour coming back as the main opposition to the Conservatives in West Dorset."

Mr Rhodes hit out at Theresa May's dealing with European leaders as Britain negotiates a deal to leave the EU.

He said: "I campaigned vigorously to remain.

"Nobody should be worse off but I find that hard to imagine. I would like parliament to have the final say on whether a deal is done. Britain didn't vote to be worse off. We just don't know what we were voting for."

Mr Rhodes added: "What kind of person do we have leading our negotiations? As a trade unionist, I would never approach people in such a gung-ho way and certainly wouldn't be antagonising and alienating the people I'm trying to do business with."

Mr Rhodes ruled out a 'progressive alliance' working with the Greens Party and Liberal Democrats, but called for a proportional representation voting system, something which is not supported by the Labour Party.

He said: "The trouble with a progressive alliance is all you need to do is look at what happened in 2010 with the Liberal Democrats. There is no way I could support them now.

"I would argue that what we need is proportional representation where my vote counts. Every vote ought to count, not just be counted."

Mr Rhodes, who is supportive of Jeremy Corbyn, is very pleased with Labour's election manifesto and hopes people will support his party's ideas to tackle poverty.

He said: "I think the manifesto is very positive and forward looking.

"It's a very society-based manifesto and people have been given a very clear choice. If people back Labour, they are voting for policies that will benefit the majority of people in this country.

"There are food banks everywhere. It's the one growing industry in West Dorset and I would be delighted when they are put out of business. It all comes down to low pay and the minimum standards we expect people to live in. Couldn't we distribute some of the wealth back to working people? We are not asking for the earth, we are asking for a decent existence.

"I'm quite in favour of all the policies we have got. It's a progressive agenda and it's received a lot of support from a lot of people."

Mr Rhodes also criticised the Conservatives' measures to tackle housing.

He said: "Affordable housing is absolutely crucial - the next generation are not able to leave home at the moment.

"We must invest in our country to boost our economy. The Conservatives' record on housing is one of failure on all fronts. They are not delivering what our community needs." He added: "Labour will protect our local services, our schools and the Kingfisher ward at Dorset County Hospital.

"Labour wants to see a community in which all can enrich our lives and everyone is rewarded fairly."