A new Conservative MP has been slammed after joking about “more Tory cuts” in a tweet that celebrated having his hair trimmed.
The 27-year-old was attempting to highlight the fact that hairdressers have now opened amid coronavirus restrictions being eased. “We can safely go back to getting our mops chopped,” he wrote.
But his jocular reference to austerity may have somewhat misread the mood in an area widely acknowledged to have been devastated by a decade’s worth of cuts to services.
“People will be deeply offended,” said Andy McDonald, neighbouring MP for Middlesbrough . “It was a crass and insensitive comment and far from being funny for thousands of people in Redcar and across the Tees Valley who have suffered as a direct result of the political choice of his Tory party to impose austerity.
“Sadly it reveals the contempt that Tories really have for the very people they were elected to serve.”
Sue Jeffrey, former Redcar and Cleveland Council leader, added: “I do wonder just how low these people will sink.
“Did he really think it is okay to joke about Tory austerity policies that have ruined so many lives and left our NHS and care services so ill equipped to deal with the Covid-19 crisis?”
But Mr Young, who won the onc-time Red Wall seat in 2019, said the tweet – now deleted – was not meant to be taken seriously.
“I tried to make light of the first haircut I’d had in three months,” he told the BBC. “Sadly a small number of people took offence at what was clearly intended as a joke.”
Although he himself decided to spike the post, fellow north-east Conservative Dehenna Davison, MP for Bishop Auckland, came out swinging on his behalf.
“People really need to get a life!” she wrote. “New haircut looks fab.”
In the decade following the introduction of austerity, Redcar and Cleveland Council saw its budgets slashed by 35 per cent resulting in the loss of vital services and more than 1,000 jobs.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies