A LABOUR election candidate who referred to “benefits scum” in social media posts will be reinterviewed by the party.

Darlington woman Sue Morley was recently selected to represent the Eastbourne ward for Labour in the upcoming local elections.

In accordance with party disciplinary policies, she must now re-interview for the role after “alarming” social media posts came to light.

Facebook posts seen by The Northern Echo depict Ms Morley referring to a disabled person as “benefits scum” and referring to the area she hopes to represent as a “s***house” estate in a post about dog fouling in the area.

Current Eastbourne Councillor Kevin Nicholson alerted Darlington’s MP Jenny Chapman as well as the town’s council and Labour North about the online posts.

The independent politician said he spoke out on the matter not for political gain but on behalf of members of the public, who had complained about Ms Morley’s conduct online.

In a letter to Darlington council leader Stephen Harker, he said some posts reflected "general bad taste about people struggling on benefits”.

He wrote: “I’m alarmed and shocked by the dozens of social media posts which have been brought to my attention from local residents.

“When a candidate calls the area they are seeking to represent ‘a s***house estate’ and makes comments calling disabled people ‘benefit scum’ it causes me great upset, even more so now that the Labour Party have endorsed this candidate to stand in an area I love and care so much about.”

Cllr Nicholson said a candidate should show pride in their area and “seek to champion local people and its challenges” rather than “show contempt over the very people whose lives you are wanting to represent and make better.”

He said he was baffled by Labour’s selection and urged the party to make more stringent checks into potential candidates.

Cllr Nicholson continued: “A lot of people who vote for a party do so based on trust.

“These posts, which were in very bad taste, perhaps suggest that current checks are not fit for purpose.”

When approached by The Northern Echo, Ms Morley said she had been advised by the Labour party not to comment on the matter.

A spokesperson for Darlington Labour said: “We take complaints extremely seriously and the candidate in this instance is being re-interviewed in line with our procedures.”