Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged his support to Sellafield workers – but failed to directly back the new Moorside project.

During a visit to Copeland yesterday, Mr Corbyn said he was behind workers who are balloting on strike action, but the question on many people's lips as to whether he would personally support the proposed nuclear complex remained unanswered.

Mr Corbyn said: "I know there's been a problem over the pensions funds (at Sellafield) and unions are quite rightly protesting at the way in which their pension in being damaged and the opportunities for future pensions is damaged.

"Therefore they're balloting on action on that and also the question of wage levels and I support them on what they're trying to achieve which is fairness and justice in wages and pension arrangements."

He added that Sellafield was "necessary as a nuclear reprocessing plant" and was going to be there for a long time.

When asked specifically for his views on the £10bn Moorside plant, which will create 20,000 jobs, he said: "The Government is apparently looking at the options and costs involved of the Toshiba programme and what the strike price will be in the end of it, so we'll have to wait and see what happens with that."

Mr Corbyn was originally due to visit Whitehaven, but this was later changed to Amy's Care centre and Cafe West at Keswick. He then went to meet Copeland Labour Party at Cleator Moor before heading to Carlisle for a rally.

Many people questioned why he changed his plans and accused Mr Corbyn of snubbing parts of Cumbria. But he insisted he had not snubbed any part of the county and would be visiting other towns and cities in Cumbria in the future.

"I have absolutely not snubbed anybody," he said. "I'm here and I'm happy to be here and it's not the only time I'm going to be in Cumbria either."

The Cumbrian visit was part of Mr Corbyn's summer campaign, where he is targeting 100 seats in England and Scotland, including the 95 most marginal Tory-held seats. It is understood he is hoping to visit 40 of them.