A nuclear power station for West Cumbria is unlikely to ever get the go-ahead without the backing of public money.

That was the conclusion of a heated debate at a full meeting of Cumbria County Council, which saw an urgent notice of motion agreed after tempers flared among the 80 councillors gathered.

It was the first time the council had met following the decision by Toshiba to win up NuGen, the developer behind the £15 billion Moorside power station plans in West Cumbria.

The motion raised by David Southward (Lab, Egremont) and seconded by council leader Stewart Young (Lab, Carlisle) read: “Council calls on the Government to enter into urgent discussions with all interested parties and to take any necessary steps to ensure that the nuclear power plant construction project at Moorside goes ahead.

“Council considers that due to the level of commercial risk involved in projects of this nature, they are highly unlikely to proceed without Government support, whether that be by way of equity acquisition, underwriting potential losses or guaranteeing the strike price.”

Cllr Southward called the decision a “devastating blow” and meant the area missing out on 5,000 construction jobs lasting eight years, and a further 1,000 operational jobs.

He accused the Government of a “chronic lack of vision” and a “gross dereliction of duty.”

“I have been involved in these discussions for six years and right from the start it was clear this project needed meaningful financial support from the Government and without Government support it would be very challenging,” he added.

Lord Liddle (Lab, Wigton) said people needed to see a “united Cumbria fighting for the Moorside project” and said all political parties had a share of the blame.

It was a sentiment echoed by Cllr James Airey (Con, Ulverston East) who said: “We do need to bury politics on this one and there are faults on all sides. I think the six members of parliament for Cumbria will be working as hard as they possibly can to ensure Moorside and the nuclear industry in Cumbria have a safe and secure future. That’s what we all want.”

Business leaders in the county have laid the blame for the collapse at Moorside firmly at the feet of the Government, with many saying it has become too distracted by Brexit to focus on keeping the project alive.

The debate had descended in to chaos at times, with allegations made, calls for certain councillors to leave the room, demands for apologies, accusations of “defamation” and threats of “civil action”.

The authority’s legal and democratic services manager, Iolanda Puzio, also had to leave her place at the top table to speak with back bench councillors about their behaviour and remarks.