A London-based role to bring jobs to an area of the North East affected by the closure of a major steelworks has been branded a “sick joke” by the local Labour MP.

According to an official advert for the position of project lead for Tees Valley Mayoral Development Corporation, which pays up to £58,806, “the role can include occasional trips to the Tees Valley”.

It will focus on the future of the huge site of the former SSI steelworks in Redcar, where local MP Anna Turley was furious.

She said: “This job will be a leading position overseeing the regeneration of the steelworks site.

“A big challenge that is crucial to bringing decent jobs to our area.

“Why on Earth, then, is it based in London? With only occasional trips to Teesside?”

Referring to the steel plant’s closure in 2015, she said: “It’s a sick joke when this site, and thousands of jobs, could have been saved if central Government ministers and civil servants had acted in the first place.”

The former SSI Steelworks in Redcar
The steelworks closed in 2015 (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

“We have a lot of talented people in our region with the knowledge and experience to take on a role like this.

“It makes me mad that so few of these posts are based outside of London.”

But the decision was welcomed by Tees Valley’s elected mayor, the Conservative Ben Houchen, who said the new role was a Civil Service position, working from Whitehall, and stressed it was not an appointment by his office.

He said: “I will always welcome additional dedicated staff in the heart of Government working to transform the former SSI steelworks site.

“The Government is throwing more time, money and resources on the most significant economic opportunity for Redcar in decades.”

He went on to attack Ms Turley, saying: “It’s extremely concerning that the Kent-born MP for Redcar is trying to jump on the wording of a standard Civil Service job advert.

“It is even more worrying that she is so ignorant of the facts on the ground.

“It must be a real concern to the people of Redcar that their MP is so out of touch on our exciting plans for the old SSI site.”