Legal action against Local Government Reform has officially begun.

Cumbria County Council's Cabinet has issued its Judicial Review application, challenging the UK Government's decision to split Cumbria into two unitary authorities.

In the Summer, then Secretary of State Robert Jenrick accepted a proposal to split Cumbria in two. Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland and Eden will be governed by one "east" council, Allerdale, Copeland and Carlisle will be governed by a "west" council.

However, some believe that the Government's decision was politically motivated, designed to consolidate Conservative power in the North West. This was the basis for a Judicial Review, or legal challenge, from Cumbria County Council's Cabinet which is made up of a coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

After months of conflict between Labour and the Conservatives, the Cabinet has officially begun with legal proceedings.

Labour Cabinet member for Economic Development and Property, David Southward said: "It has to be verified now that our case is worth bothering a judge with. It should be fairly quick I hope, all being well, we'll proceed with the main event after that."

He said that members of the Cabinet are pleased by "the amount of reaction we've had from people across the political spectrum who are supportive of our action."

Councillor Southward said that although the Government's preferred model of council reform is likely to go ahead regardless, the Cabinet wants to put up a fight.

He said: "The more people are aware about what's going on the more annoyed they'll be."

Preparations are ongoing to prepare for the transition to a two council county and the Conservatives are of the view that there should be no barriers to that work.

Three of Cumbria County Council's Conservative members moved to call-in the Cabinet's decision earlier this month. The Scrutiny Management Board considered their views and asked the Cabinet to reconsider its decision based on concerns about "spiralling costs."

But last week Cabinet members voted to press on, leading to criticism of Lib Dem members who refused to block the decision despite voting on the SMB to send the Judicial Review back to Cabinet.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party Peter Thornton said: “My position is very clear, the fact is when you’ve got a Cabinet with six members who believe one thing, four members who believe something else, the four members’ votes aren’t going to change a decision."