A west Cumbrian councillor who has been fighting to save maternity services in Whitehaven has been chosen as the Liberal Democrats candidate for Copeland MP.

Rebecca Hanson was last night selected to stand in the upcoming by-election, which was called following the shock resignation of current Copeland MP Jamie Reed.

Mrs Hanson, a Cockermouth councillor, has strongly opposed Success Regime plans to remove services, and particularly consultant-led maternity, from the West Cumberland Hospital.

She recently published her own research to demonstrate the safety risk to mums in labour and their babies.

Mrs Hanson said health, along with Brexit and the local economy, will be among her main election issues.

This by-election is a chance for people to send a strong message against a hard Brexit that damages local jobs by pulling Britain out of the Single Market," she said.

"It's also an opportunity to reject this Conservative government's underfunding of our NHS and say no to plans to move vital services like maternity and A&E from West Cumberland Hospital to Carlisle.

"I am passionate about standing up for west Cumbria, and recognise the vital role that the nuclear industry plays in our local economy.

"I'm proud to be have been selected as the candidate for the Liberal Democrats, the only party fighting to protect the economy by staying in the Single Market and calling for a long-term solution to the crisis facing the NHS."

Mr Reed will stand down at the end of January to take up a new job as head of development and community relations at Sellafield Ltd.