A North West MEP who set up a base in Workington has been accused of turning her back on West Cumbria as she prepares to close the office.

Julie Ward MEP, who was elected to the European Parliament in 2014, is moving her operations to her Manchester office.

She had been the only MEP in the region based north of the M62.

Her full-time office manager and her constituency manager will lose their jobs in the move.

Alan Smith, Allerdale council leader, said the move was a disgrace and plans to write to Mrs Ward and the party.

He said: "We thought we had someone who was going to champion the area and she's jumped ship.

"We have got no representation up here now. It just goes to show what people feel about this area.

"It's terrible that two people who have given their all to her cause have been thrown on the scrapheap and at short notice."

Barbara Cannon, who is one of those losing their jobs, has worked for Mrs Ward for almost two years.

She previously acted as her agent ahead of the European elections, hosting Mrs Ward and a member of her staff at her home during the campaign.

Mrs Cannon said: "She's basically washing her hands of the most peripheral area in the North West, an area which for months prior to being elected she always said she was going to support.

"I have had comments from people across the North West who are horrified.

"It should be a signal to any politician that they're doing something the wrong way.

"I set my stall by how you treat people and I don't think she's been terribly thoughtful in that respect."

Mrs Ward is one of eight MEPs in the region, three of whom are Labour members.

She opened a Manchester office earlier this year.

It is understood she has spent little time in her Workington office this year.

Mrs Ward, who was this week in Malawi with a parliamentary delegation, said: "It is with deep sadness that I am closing my office in Workington.

"The disappointing referendum result has forced me to rethink how best to serve all my constituents."

She said transport difficulties and recent rule changes requiring savings to her staff budget were among the reasons for her decision.

Mrs Ward is the Labour Europe spokesman on culture, education, youth and citizenship.

She added: "Subsequent to the Brexit vote the focus of my work is changing with a reduced postbag.

"My parliamentary responsibilities are increasing.

"I have therefore decided that I must prioritise resources in order to maintain specialist staff experienced in culture and education.

"I know some people are disappointed that I will no longer have an office in Cumbria but that does not mean I will spend any less time in the county.

"I plan to make myself available to constituents through drop-in sessions across the region."