A prominent politician has hit out at the Lake District National Park Authority amid claims it is seeking to “gag” him.

Tony Lywood, Labour’s prospective parliamentary for Copeland, is now the subject of a complaint after blasting the authority’s controversial plans to use Tarmac to re-instate a path in the heart of the Lake District.

It is understood that the complaint related to a Facebook post in which Mr Lywood said the authority tasked with looking after the World Heritage Site was becoming “less and less responsive to the opinions of local people”.

But the organisation’s communications chief Tony Watson described the remarks of the Keswick town and county councillor as “incredibly unhelpful” and “insulting” to the officers of the park working to reopen the route.

The complaint about Mr Lywood, who is also a board member of the LDNPA, added: “His insults about us on Facebook in this manner, in an open group is, in my view, a breach of the member code, particularly around treating our officers with integrity.

“I submit this as a complaint therefore in my role as Head of Communications.  I will do this in writing with further information on Monday.”

The war of words erupted after it has emerged that the National Park authority is facing an unprecedented vote of “no confidence” from Keswick Town Council over the plans.

Members favour the broader scheme to reinstate the four-mile path as part of the £7.9 million Keswick to Threlkeld Railway Path Reinstatement.

However, they are opposed to the re-surfacing material chosen which they say would constitute an “act of landscape vandalism”.

A spokeswoman for the LDNPA said the authority did not comment on complaints about members.

But Mr Lywood vowed he would not be silenced or stopped from raising concerns on behalf of the people he represents as a Keswick town and county councillor.

He added: “I do not sit on the Lake District National Park board as a representative of corporate or business interests. I am on this board by virtue of being an elected public representative.

“My job is to give local people a voice and their voice will not be silenced, and neither will mine.’

The Tarmac plans have provoked a public outcry, sparking an extraordinary general meeting of the town council due to be held on Thursday (October 10).

Responding to the concerns, a spokeswoman for the authority previously said it was “extremely disappointed” by the town council’s decision and stressed that the public had been given a say.

Mr Lywood described the use of Tarmac as “extremely worrying” amid claims decisions such as this one may ultimately damage the Lake District’s coveted World Heritage Status.

The re-surfacing plans emerged in response to the floods in December 2015 which caused extensive damage, sweeping away two bridges that cross the River Greta.

A spokeswoman for the LDNPA previously insisted that its research had been followed by detailed design, consent and planning permission procedures.

Park bosses also said the Tarmac surface was more “durable”, cheaper to maintain and was more flood resilient.

They added: “While the trail does run through a rural landscape, the route followed is man-made, with a clear transport related history; being an old railway line.

“Therefore, the use of a Tarmac surface was considered appropriate and the project was given planning permission.”