Jared O’Mara was suspended by the Labour Party on October 25th. Now, some two and a half months later, top Labour officials remain silent on the status of the internal investigation into his suspension for alleged sexist remarks and unacceptable public comments. Although suspended from the party, Jared remains an MP, an elected representative for the constituency of Sheffield Hallam, and a member of the House of Commons, drawing a salary of more than £75,000 a year.
Since his suspension, however, Jared O’Mara has not been seen in Westminster. In over two months he has not made one speech or produced a single oral question in the chamber. Indeed, given his suspension came before his maiden Commons speech, O’Mara has gone almost eight months – since his election – without making his first remarks on behalf of his constituents in Parliament. Not only this, but a recent article in the Times revealed that Mr O’Mara has not held a single constituency surgery or event since his October suspension within the area he has been elected to serve.
It is known that Mr O’Mara suffers from cerebral palsy, and his office have issued statements informing the press and the public that the MP has scaled back his political activities on advice from his doctors. Despite his elected position being one where he has a duty to serve the people of Hallam, it seems that since his suspension, he has either been unable or unwilling to do this. His twitter page has not been updated since a 23rd October apology for his past statements. It appears very much like Mr O’Mara has distanced himself from the scandal, and the job that brought these remarks to light.
O’Mara (red rosette) alongside Nick Clegg, his predecessor as Sheffield Hallam MP
The people of Sheffield Hallam deserve better. They are being let down by an MP shirking his responsibilities, and a Labour Party that refuse to give up one of their parliamentary seats. The Lib Dems, who held this seat under Nick Clegg until last year’s election, are already preparing for a by-election. Their prospective candidate, Laura Gordon, has been holding surgeries in the constituency in the absence of Mr O’Mara.
Yet Labour continue to drag their heels, silent on the status of the investigation, likely hoping the issue will go away, or the supposed Corbyn government takeover will occur before they have to make a decision on O’Mara’s membership of the party. The right decision here is to ask Mr O’Mara to step down, and to call a by-election. Democracy is in place in this country to allow a greater number of people representation through an individual. The people of Sheffield Hallam are not receiving this representation, and are being failed by a Labour Party playing political games in Westminster.
James Cleverly, the vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, criticised O’Mara’s lack of parliamentary work, describing the inactive MP as simply “not fit” for the role and office. O’Mara has been accused of “dragging his heels” as he waits for the issue to blow over, rather than doing the right thing and stepping down. The inactivity of both Labour and Mr O’Mara is simply wrong, they are failing his constituents, and denying them the recognition they are entitled to. The longer this saga runs, the clearer it becomes that Corbyn heads up a party more interested in playing Westminster party politics than it is in serving the people it claims to represent up and down the country. The silence from Labour shows that much like the silent Jared O’Mara, they are hoping this problem will simply just go away, showing a complete disregard for needs of the 84,000 constituents of Sheffield Hallam.