A Lib Dem councillor and would-be General Election candidate has apologised over an old social media post in which she mocked residents of a coastal village as “inbreds”.
Lib Dem Jemma Joy said she was being sarcastic when she made the comment about Skinningrove, Cleveland, having previously lived in the village herself when she was growing up. She said the Facebook post in question, from several years ago, had been sent from her personal account and was only intended for friends.
Cllr Joy, who represents the Hutton ward, in Guisborough, on Redcar and Cleveland Council, is seeking to be selected a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate to contest the Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland seat currently held by the Conservatives’ Sir Simon Clarke.
In the post from 2010, she wrote: “Skinningrove…urgghh. Possible contender for most in-bred village in Britain.”
After being brought to Cllr Joy’s attention by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, it appeared to have been deleted and was no longer able to be viewed online.
Cllr Joy said: “Sarcasm isn’t something that works very well on social media, as I have gathered. It was from a long time ago.”
The Lib Dem councillor said she had lived in Skinningrove as a teenager before moving away when she got her first house. She said: “Lots of my friends from Skinningrove used to say – tongue in cheek – ‘Oh yeah, we’re inbred’, so it’s probably that.
“But it does look really bad on social media, I appreciate that.”
Skinningrove played a prominent role in ironstone mining in the 1800s and its population grew in turn. But the decline of the industry in the 20th century led to many former miners’ homes being demolished, while schools and shops also closed.
It also suffered from wartime bombing raids and has been the location of several serious floods. In 2005 a Sky One documentary narrated by Ralf Little, of The Royle Family fame, featured Skinningrove, claiming it to be one of Britain’s ‘toughest villages’ with the programme going on to secure cult status.
It is home to the Land of Iron mining museum and Skinningrove and Cattersty Sands Beach, and on the Cleveland Way national trail, while the National Cycle Network runs through the village.