A FURNESS MP has vowed to remain 'committed to the community' in an open letter announcing the breakdown of his marriage.

John Woodcock MP has revealed his wife, Mandy Telford, will be moving to Scotland in the New Year with his children, Maisie and Molly, after the pair agreed to separate.

"This letter is painful for me to write, but I owe it to you, the people of Barrow and Furness, who have been so wonderful to both of us in the years we have been based here, to be frank about the breakdown of our marriage," he said.

"We are both very sad but after much soul searching we have agreed that doing this now is the right thing to give the children the security and stability they need."

In the letter, posted to his website on Tuesday, the Labour MP said he has always believed in being open with his constituents about 'any circumstances which may impact on the way I work for you'.

He revealed that Mrs Telford, a Cumbria county councillor for Walney South, had begun to feel the 'pull of home and her wider family' after becoming heavily involved in the Scottish independence referendum campaign - and her move will now mean her stepping down from her post on the council.

She will also hand over leadership of the hospital campaign.

"Had our relationship been working better than it has been, we would have tried to keep together as a couple even despite her being based north of the border," continued Mr Woodcock.

"But the truth is that living apart for more than half the week has taken its toll."

This week the couple travelled to Scotland together so that their daughter, Maisie, could visit her new school.

But Mr Woodcock said his children, and Mrs Telford, will always have a home in Furness.

"As anyone who has been through separation will know, this has been a very difficult period but Mandy and I are determined to remain good friends and good parents to the children," he added.

"Above all, though, I want you to know that my commitment to serve as your MP for as long as you will have me is as firm as ever.

"This is my home now, you are my community, and I will be forever grateful for the welcome you have given us."