Copeland labour party has responded to an open letter signed by 50 parliamentarians about plans for the West Cumbrian coal mine.

"There is a lot of fake news going around about the mine," said a spokesman for the Labour Party.

"For clarity — Cumbria County Council has not "stopped the mine" or “bottled it” — they have been forced to bring back the decision to the committee stage because of planning laws (which are set by the Conservative Government) and information and guidelines on climate control (which are also set and published by the Conservative Government).

"The Conservative Government sets the laws and guidelines that councils have to operate within. The County Council approved the mine in October, and were then informed that they could not issue the decision until the Secretary of State (Conservative minister Robert Jenrick) had decided if he wanted to review the decision.

"Meanwhile, the same Conservative Government published a paper on climate commitments in December, which is what has prompted this to go back before the committee.

"The committee that will decide upon the mine is composed of 8 Tories, 6 Labour and 3 Lib-Dem Councillors. One of few to vote against the mine originally was the Conservative Cumbria County Councillor Hillary Carrock who is now the Group Leader of the Conservatives at County Council — all councillors [on the planning committee] will be free to vote for or against the mine when it comes back before them.

"If the Conservative Government wanted the mine to go ahead they could change the law or update their guidelines/information accordingly and it would happen — but they aren’t doing that.

"The County Council has already approved the mine. When it comes back before the Development Panel there is every chance that they will again — even if some Conservative members vote against it, (again).

"Local Tory leaders would be better served putting pressure on their own national Party leaders, rather than trying to deceive the public about what’s really going on here."