A candidate for Labour's nomination in next year's Copeland mayoral election has apologised if he offended anyone on Remembrance Sunday.

Edwin Dinsdale has been accused of "tasteless" and "inappropriate" campaigning after residents spotted him outside Whitehaven's Civic Hall with placards while an event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War was taking place inside.

Trade union activist Mr Dinsdale, who disputes he was campaigning, said he had been unaware the event was taking place.

Whitehaven Town Council's Brian O'Kane had his attention drawn to the incident by another councillor.

"Personally, I feel Remembrance Sunday is a day where politics is left behind," he said. "If someone wants to do political campaigning that's fine but don't do it when people are marking Remembrance Sunday.

"Everyone has a right to campaign but when it's right outside the Civic Hall with people coming in and out I think it's a bit tasteless."

Whitehaven resident John Jones wrote to the Whitehaven News, calling the incident a "blackspot" on Remembrance Sunday.

He said: "I was most surprised and rather disappointed that a Labour candidate for mayor and some friends chose to wave placards for support for his campaign outside the Civic Hall following the parade.

"Very inappropriate and I know many people were equally upset. Wrong place, wrong time.

"Better to have marched than to canvass on such a day."

However, Mr Dinsdale said: "I communicated with the Royal British Legion Bransty Branch, to find out where the location of the reception would be held after the Remembrance Service and I was informed it would be held at the United Reformed Church Hall in the Market Place.

"I was not aware of a second function taking place at the Civic Hall until I landed at the venue.

Nobody formally or informally complained to me about being tasteless and inappropriate towards our veterans, on the day, or after the event to me in person or otherwise.

"I did speak to a number of people milling around and leaving the event, and nobody who I had a conversation with said anything derogatory."

In Facebook posts, the candidate had encouraged people to give generously to the Poppy Appeal and thanked everyone who served in the First World War, saying: "We are forever grateful for your sacrifices and courage."

He stood down all campaigning "via social media, phone banking, door knocking and personal contact with members in respect of our current and ex-service men and women".

"The photo that was taken, at the time took two minutes to produce and I waited until Tuesday and Wednesday the following week to upload it online.

"If anybody has been offended by my actions I would like to offer a full and unconditional apology.

"Can I finally say how moving the Remembrance Sunday Parade was, irrespective of the weather the turnout was incredible, and everybody who attended did our heroes proud."