Gillian Troughton has been selected as Labour's candidate to fight the upcoming Parliamentary by-election in Copeland.

Mrs Troughton, a Copeland borough and Cumbria county councillor, beat off competition from hospital campaigner Rachel Holliday and Allerdale councillor Barbara Cannon to be Labour's nomination in the race to succeed outgoing MP Jamie Reed.

Labour members made their selection in a behind-closed-doors vote in Egremont Market Hall last night.

Mrs Troughton, 51, of Moresby Parks, was an active Remain campaigner in last year's EU referendum.

Speaking after the meeting, she said: “It is an honour to have been selected as the Labour candidate for this crucial by-election in my home seat.

"This is my home. I have been part of the campaign against the proposed cuts to A&E and the maternity wing because I know that our community needs this service.

"This is where my family make their living. My husband works in the nuclear supply chain, so I know how important the industry is to thousands of Cumbrians.

"I’m pro-nuclear; no ifs, no buts. Moorside is a fantastic opportunity. I’ll make sure our community gets what it deserves.

"This is where I raised my children. Copeland has given them so many opportunities."

She was elected to Copeland Council in 2011, holding the finance portfolio on its executive committee for four years, and won her seat on Cumbria County Council, representing Howgate, in October 2015.

Mr Reed will step down at the end of January for a job at Sellafield.

He congratulated Mrs Troughton on her selection. "It was a very talented field. Barbara Cannon has a long and distinguished record of service in public officer, and Rachel Holliday is an extremely talented and capable woman – we will see both again, of that I am sure.

"It’s been my privilege to know and work with Gillian for a long time now. We could not have chosen a better candidate; she’s passionate about our community, a huge supporter of the nuclear industry and as a trained surgeon she’s an amazing advocate for the WCH and the NHS.

"As a mother, she cares about local services, schools, transport and our jobs . It’s a stark contrast to the Conservative campaign being run from Carlisle and for the benefit of Carlisle.

"Gillian has my full support. She would make a fantastic MP and be uniquely well placed to fight for our health services."

The Conservatives, while campaigning locally, have yet to formally launch their selection process, adding that it will begin once Mr Reed’s resignation takes effect.

The Liberal Democrats will field former maths teacher Rebecca Hanson, a Cockermouth town councillor, who has been an outspoken opponent of the Success Regime’s plans to overhaul NHS services in West Cumbria.

UKIP has selected Fiona Mills as its candidate. Ms Mills is the chairman of UKIP Cumbria and stood for the Carlisle seat in the 2015 election.

On the confirmation of her selection on Friday, she said: "I am honoured and delighted. As UKIP Cumbria chairman I travel all over the county and it is my feeling that people want a Member of Parliament who will truly represent them. I will do precisely that.

"The main issues in Copeland are health service provision and the nuclear industry. UKIP strongly supports both. I have worked in the NHS for 24 years, I'm passionate about improving and preserving it and I'm proud to have helped write UKIP's excellent Health Policy. We have solutions to the current health crises.

"Copeland voted 62 per cent to leave the EU and what better way to send a message to the government that we want a full Brexit as soon as possible than to return a UKIP MP.

"I hope to meet and talk to as many constituents as possible so that I can take on board their concerns. Unlike other parties, UKIP does not have a party whip so I am completely free to be the people's voice."

And the Green Party has confirmed that it will field a candidate on “an anti-nuclear and anti-poverty campaign”, and will make a selection on January 24. Allan Todd, who stood for Copeland in the 2015 General Election, has confirmed that he is not in the running.