Steve Coogan tells James O'Brien why he's encouraging tactical voting

11 December 2019, 16:00 | Updated: 11 December 2019, 16:03

Steve Coogan told James O'Brien why he's pushing for tactical voting and risking becoming a target for the media.

The actor said this election is "unique like no other" and his request for people to vote tactically is to "get rid of the government."

Mr Coogan explained if the "main contender is Liberal, vote for the Liberal Democrats, if the main contender is Labour, vote for the Labour candidate" in your constituency.

"This is about something more fundamental than party politics," he said, "it's about the way we conduct ourselves and common decency.

"I think that it's not just about Brexit... if you vote for Boris Johnson's government you are party to that tsunami of intolerance politics based on peoples' prejudices, peoples' vulnerabilities, their insecurities and it is the worse kind of political conduct."

James asked him why someone as successful as him would want to stick his head above the parapet and make himself a target for British newspaper.

Steve Coogan said he is at a level in his career where "no one person can bring me down" - to which James told him not to tempt fate.

Steve Coogan urging voters to "get rid of the government"
Steve Coogan urging voters to "get rid of the government". Picture: PA

"It would be easier for me to do nothing and not invite the ire of the Daily Mail columnists but I have gotten comfortable with it now," he said, "if I don't get attacked by the Daily Mail from time to time I start to worry I'm doing something wrong."

"You can stand and scream at the television or you can try and do something," he said, "I was raised to speak my mind and certainly speak up for those less fortunate. I feel like this government is utilising ignorance and prejudice against the most vulnerable people in society. So I feel I had to do something."

He clarified he is not earning his living from this or in anyone's pocket, they are just deeply held personal views.

People like simple solutions, said Mr Coogan, so "a simple message, even if it's wrong" will grab the attention of the listener such as saying "all our problems will be solved as soon as we leave Europe - it's complete nonsense but it sounds good."

However he did acknowledge people from different parties are also empathetic to his cause and understand what is at stake; a magnitude that transcends political parties. Even politicians he does not agree with, but respects as principled people, do not recognise the current Conservative party, he continued.

"If there was no overall majority then it would discredit the current Boris Johnson government and then the real Conservatives, the ones with integrity, can wrest back their party to what they wanted it to be."