Days after he was reinstated, shamed MP Jared O’Mara has resigned from the Labour Party saying he was “made unfairly to feel like a criminal” over abusive social media posts that were unearthed.
O’Mara was suspended from the party in October after multiple online posts were resurfaced, some dating back as far as 2002, and claims he verbally assaulted a woman.
In a chaotic week for the MP, he publicly apologised for the comments after he was reinstatedon Tuesday with a formal warning and mandatory training. In an interview on Wednesday with ITV Calendar he revealed he had made three suicide attempts.
Now resigning from the party, in an open letter to his constituents O’Mara said: “I didn’t commit any crimes, yet I have been made unfairly to feel like a criminal.
“Nobody should be made to feel ashamed for mistakes they make when they are young.
O’Mara won the Sheffield Hallam seat in 2017 from former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, and in September was invited by Sheffield Labour Students to speak about his plans as one of the party’s freshest faces.
The success soon turned sour as online comments he had made in his early 20s were exposed by the Guido Fawkes political blog, drawing allegations of homophobia, racism and misogyny.
While Labour will lose a seat, O’Mara, 36, suggested he will continue as one of only two independent MP’s in Parliament, saying “I might be leaving Labour but I am still at your side.”
However, the Yorkshire Post revealed in January that O’Mara, paid more than £74,000 a year, was not turning up to his constituency office despite his parliamentary office saying he was continuing to work “very hard” for his Sheffield constituents during suspension.
O’Mara boldly claimed yesterday that “the Labour Party no longer shares my commitment to the true definition of equality and compassion”.
“I would be lying to those of you whom I represent, and those close to me like my parents and sister respectively, if I continued under the pretence that I feel there is a place of acceptance and empathy for me as a working class, underprivileged disabled man within the Labour Party,” he continued.
“I have experienced little to make me feel welcome, understood and accepted during this last year.”
Liberal Democrat candidate for Sheffield Hallam Laura Gordon greeted the news with a compassionate plea.
“Jared O’Mara is clearly going through an acutely difficult time. We must always stand with those who are going through health and mental wellbeing challenges,” she said.
“What has happened in Sheffield Hallam has highlighted that all political parties have a duty of care both in how they approve candidates and their continued support for them after election.
“The MP for Sheffield Hallam has made a solemn promise to his constituents. Regardless of party label, it is important the people of Sheffield Hallam get the representation they need and deserve.”
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “We’re disappointed Jared has decided to resign from Labour after we won the Sheffield Hallam seat from Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems last year.
“We wish him well for the future.”