RESIGNING from Labour's frontbench gave Copeland's MP Jamie Reed "no pleasure'' he told The Whitehaven News yesterday.

He was speaking after stepping down from his position as shadow health minister just minutes after Jeremy Corbyn was overwhelmingly voted in as the new Labour leader last weekend.

"I've devoted over a quarter of my life to the service of this constituency and the Labour Party,'' Mr Reed said. "Resigning from the front bench gave me no pleasure whatsoever, but I know it's the right thing to do in principle. I'm very encouraged by the number of messages and the support I've received locally.

"It would appear that - away from Cumbria - a lot of people want MPs to be more principled and independent until they act in a principled and independent manner,'' he said. "It's fair to say that those who actually read my resignation letter and read the reasons laid out in it understand my position.''

Mr Reed, who backed Andy Burnham in the leadership election, handed in his resignation after informing Mr Corbyn that his stance over nuclear power was his reason for quitting Labour’s frontbench.

"Labour created the nuclear industry, it's one of our most important legacies. I remain within that tradition,'' Mr Reed said. "For me, it's really very simple: I place the interests of Copeland first, last and always. Leaving the front bench gives me more scope to implement the Energy Coast vision. In a few years time, we will be set to become one of the fastest growing parts of the UK economy as a result of this plan. 

"It's taken 10 years to get to this point, all the big decisions will be made before 2020 and there is just no way I could turn my back on ten years of my own work and work with local partners.''

Mr Reed said Labour's position was pro-nuclear. "I worked to establish this policy and worked with Ed Davey as a Lib Dem Energy Secretary and with No.10 to retain it when Labour left office in 2010 and ever since.'' He said he knew the new shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy "well'' and said: "She's very good but the brief will be entirely new to her. I'll sit down with her very soon. It's critical to note that all of the heavy lifting we need to see will be done before 2020.''

When asked about how he saw the future of the Labour Party, Mr Reed said: "All parties - like families - go through internal rows. The future of the Labour Party is extremely bright, membership is going through the roof and hundreds of thousands of more people have become engaged in politics but the next few years are clearly going to be challenging. 

"I've no doubts that we will get there: Labour is the best hope for areas like ours but it clearly has to change. The same thing happened to the Democrats in the United States a few years prior to Obama's election. It's a natural, but painful cycle.''

And he added: "The mood in Westminster is one I haven't experienced before. It's a case of 'wait and see'.''