RADICAL left-winger turned Brexit party MEP Claire Fox will be a guest speaker at an innovative debate being held for the first time in an outpost of her new constituency.

Ms Fox, former member of the Communist Revolutionary Party, stood for Nigel Farage’s party in this year’s European Community Parliament elections. She is now lead Brexit member for the North West of England.

She is also founder and chair of the Academy of Ideas, which for 15 years has been organising a Battle of Ideas festival at the Barbican in London. Its core aim is to promote lively, frank and public debate of the big issues of our day.

This year the Barbican event is on November 2 and 3, with 400 speakers and 3,500-strong audience from around the UK expected. Subjects are likely to be arts, education, the economy and inevitably Brexit.

There are satellite events around the UK, and Ms Fox has accepted an invitation to speak at one from Sedbergh Book Town Literary Trust.

Ms Fox said: “I was delighted to be invited and now that I am an MEP I have stood down temporarily as convenor of the Festival and am free to speak, and Sedbergh is part of my new constituency.”

Other speakers include pro-EU Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, so a lively debate is expected.

Sedbergh was proclaimed England’s first and only book town in 2003, in the wake of the foot-and-mouth outbreak. Funding has been hard to find in recent years.

The Battle of Ideas satellite event, at Sedbergh People’s Hall from 7.30pm-9pm on October 18, is designed to revitalise the Book Town. The theme is Can We Bridge the North-South Divide?

Sedbergh Book town Literary Trust chair Carole Nelson said: “We aim to have three or four big debates a year to get the book town back on the map.

“For the first subject we thought the North/South divide was important. People in London have no idea how people in Cumbria think. It is like another country.”

It is hoped the debate will explore the relative differences in jobs, pay, health and many other factors between the north and south of England

If the Sedbergh debate proves popular, the next will be on whether Cumbria should declare a climate change emergency.