MICHAEL Tomlinson has joined the growing number of Tory MPs in Dorset who back leaving the European Union.

Writing for the Daily Echo's sister publication, the Swanage & Wareham Advertiser, the Mid-Dorset & North Poole MP said: "After much deliberation and hours of careful listening, I have decided that I will be casting my vote to leave the EU."

Mr Tomlinson joins fellow Dorset Conservative MP's Richard Drax, Robert Syms, Christopher Chope and Conor Burns, and the New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne, who have all indicated they will be voting to leave the European Union.

Only Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood, a junior minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has backed Prime Minister David Cameron's call for Britain to remain part of the EU.

The referendum, the first of its kind since 1975, will take place on June 23.

Mr Tomlinson said: "There is no doubt that we are a great nation and that we will survive whether we remain or leave.

"I do not accept the scaremongering on both sides to the effect that we are doomed unless we vote one way or the other.

However, it is my firm view that we can thrive outside of the EU."

The MP, who won his seat in the House of Commons at the last General Election, says the key issue for him is sovereignty and control over our own laws.

He said: "We send our MPs to Westminster, and it should be there, not Brussels, that the buck stops. Our vision for Britain should not be constrained by those who are not accountable to the British public.

"If we want to change our laws, we must be able to do so and hold those lawmakers – MPs - to account at election time."