Three candidates have thrown their hat into the ring in the battle to be named Copeland Labour's candidate in next year's mayoral election.

Edwin Dinsdale, Mike Hawkins and Linda Jones-Bulman make up the group's shortlist, with the winner securing the party's nomination ahead of the contest in May.

Members of Copeland Labour will choose their preferred candidate, with ballots needing to be returned by November 19.

The successful contender, who is expected to be announced on November 20, will come up against current mayor Mike Starkie as he bids to retain the role he secured in May 2015.

Mr Dinsdale, 51, from Whitehaven, is a Sellafield worker and trade union activist. He has been a member of the GMB and Unite unions for over 25 years and is campaigning under a banner of "putting people before politics and giving Copeland a voice".

"The main reason I've decided to stand is down to austerity cuts impacted on to Copeland," he said. "For me, cuts to council budgets, educations and the NHS have gone to such a degree they are making people's lives a misery.

"I will campaign tirelessly against these draconian cuts and will do everything I can to bring an end to austerity.

"I believe Copeland is a first class borough that is treated as a third class nation. We're not asking for gold taps, we're asking for a golden hour, which is the most important time to receive medical treatment after serious injury or trauma."

Mr Hawkins, 53, from Hensingham, has been a county councillor for nine years, representing Mirehouse East. He worked at the West Cumberland Hospital in ground maintenance for 21 years before taking redundancy to focus on his council role.

"Since 2010, I've seen how government cuts have affected how we can provide services for local people," he said. "There's been a lot of talk about the need for a unitary authority and from Cumbria County Council there is a willingness to work with others.

"However, there seems to be a barrier when we talk to the elected mayor.

The candidate, who said he was pro-nuclear, added: "It doesn't matter who gets the credit as long as people benefit."

He is also interested in exploring the 'Preston model', which is aimed at ensuring the benefits of local growth are invested in their local areas.

"It keeps the money generated in Preston within Preston," said Mr Hawkins. "I know the leader of Preston City Council and he would be willing to talk to us about that. It's something I'd like to explore in Copeland."

In a promotional leaflet, Linda Jones-Bulman, who has been a Copeland councillor for four years, said she has "spent 30 years working in the voluntary sector fighting for the most vulnerable".

"I'm a trained counsellor and I have been running the Blue Skies voluntary group for the last 10 years, helping hundreds of people suffering from problems like addictions, bereavements and homelessness."

She stands for prioritising the elderly and most vulnerable in the community, standing up for the rights of working people, including abolishing zero-hour contracts and introducing a £10 minimum wage, opposing government cuts to council budgets and supporting local services.

Hustings, open to Copeland Labour members, will be held in Cleator Moor on Monday, November 12.