The Independent Mayor of Copeland has joined the Conservatives as he believes the party are the best equipped to help him achieve the ambitions he has for the borough.

Mike Starkie, who has represented the borough for the past five years, said many of the changes made by the council during his time have had really positive effects for residents, but going forward he would be able to help achieve even more under the Conservatives.

He said: “I now have less than three years left in office and there is still so much we need to do as the change is going to be continuous.

“I am a committed Brexiteer and I believe the levelling up agenda that the government was elected on represents the best opportunity for progress in the north, in Cumbria and in Copeland for decades."

“The government’s devolution programme which I fully support will further remove inefficiency and bureaucracy that has held Cumbria back for years and indeed accelerate the still significant modernisation of local government that is still needed.

“Working closer within structure of a party who’s manifesto I have bought into and who will be in government in my opinion for at least a decade and way beyond my time of active involvement strengthens my position in representing Copeland and achieving the goals I set out in my own manifesto for Copeland last year which remains unchanged.

“What also remains unchanged is my desire to continue working in cooperation with councillors of all political persuasions in the best interests of the people of Copeland.”