Carlisle's MP has insisted there is currently no threat of a local lockdown to tackle coronavirus - but has said he would support it if required.

John Stevenson spoke out after council and NHS officials issued a stark warning on Friday that there had been a rise in Covid-19 cases in the Carlisle area.

Social media posts over the weekend then showed groups of revellers crowded together outside a nightclub, with social distancing not being applied.

Mr Stevenson said he and the county's other three north Cumbrian MPs are given a weekly update on the situation surrounding Covid-19, and have done since the start of the pandemic.

“We give them appropriate support whenever it is needed," he said. “I can only go on what I know, but I would say that the authorities involved in managing the Covid-19 situation have been very good.

“They are aware of the risks and their responsibilities, and they have tried to take appropriate action whenever anything has happened.

“Obviously it is disappointing that there has been a slight spike. But we need to remember that these are not huge numbers."

Mr Stevenson praised officials for their efforts to ensure the spike did not get out of control, but admitted it is a situation which needs closely monitoring.

“[It] is obviously of concern, because we do not want to see it develop any further than it has. Anything that can be done to contain the rise has to be welcomed," he said.

“At this point in time there has been no indication that a local lockdown is the direction of travel in which we are headed, and I very, very much hope we manage to avoid that.

“I fully accept that if there is an outbreak that continues to spread, then quite clearly, we have got to think carefully and take appropriate action if necessary.

“If there has to be a lockdown to contain any rise, then we should support it. But if we can avoid that, I think that would be far more beneficial for the people of Carlisle."

The MP urged residents to take their own steps to play their part in helping reduce the spread of the virus - and thereby avoid a local lockdown.

He continued: “I believe the imposition of a local lockdown is a decision that would have to be made at a national level, but then imposed on a local area, as was the case in Leicester.

“I understand if it was deemed necessary it would follow a very similar process [to Leicester]. But I do hope we do not have to go there.”