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Labour finally suspends MP Jared O’Mara after ‘fudge packer’, ‘poof’ and ‘ugly bitch’ comments

October 25, 2017

A Labour MP at the centre of a homophobia, sexism and racism scandal has been suspended by the Labour Party.

Jared O’Mara, the Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam, had already been forced to resign from the Women and Equalities Committee this week after revelations about over online posts made under his name.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says the newly-elected parliamentarian has now been suspended from Labour.

He told BBC News: “There will be a full investigation by the Labour Party and then, as a result of that, a final decision will be made about his future.”

The decision comes after two days of refusing, with leader Jeremy Corbyn initially saying he would take no action, as the posts were from 15 years ago.

The allegations have mainly related to posts on a music forum in the early 2000s.

A user known as ‘gingerjared’ referred to gay people as “fudge packers” and “poofters”, also alluding to anal sex as “driving up the Marmite motorway”.

Labour has opened an investigation into the MP – who has never spoken in the chamber and asked just a handful of written questions as an MP – following the claims.

Yesterday a former partner of the politician alleged he was abusive and transphobic when they dated seven months ago.

Sophie Evans, 25, says he used sexist language and “transphobic slurs” during a row at a Sheffield music venue that he ran before becoming an MP.

“There were some transphobic slurs in there . . . he called me an ugly bitch,” Ms Evans told Daily Politics.

“I just thought ‘Wow, he’s not a very nice man’ and just forgot about it.

“He never apologised to me or my friends that were involved. He has called us liars in the press, he has been on radio and called us liars.

“I just find it very, very hard to believe that he has changed.”

In a statement yesterday, a Labour spokesperson told PinkNews: “The Party is investigating Jared O’Mara MP in relation to comments and behaviour which have been reported from earlier this year.”

The move comes after equalities minister Justine Greening wrote to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to urge him to investigate O’Mara.

In a stinging attack on Labour’s record, the Minister for Women and Equalities said O’Mara’s comments showed “the deep and persistent stain on Labour’s ability to represent women, the LGBT community and wider society.”

Greening, who is also the Secretary of State for Education, asked: “Will you be investigating the latest allegations made against Jared O’Mara MP?

“How is it that individuals who have made such remarks can be selected as Labour candidates?

“Will you be removing the whip from him while the investigation is carried out?”

The comments Greening refers to in the letter date from 2002 to 2004, when O’Mara was a local Labour candidate and in his early 20s.

Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable had called on the Labour Party to withdraw O’Mara’s whip straight away.

Cable said: “This is completely unacceptable behaviour. If he did make these remarks Labour needs to withdraw the whip from him immediately.

“People must have confidence that MPs will stand up against prejudice.

“As MPs we cannot let ourselves fall short of those standards, particularly in our dealings with the public,” the former Business Secretary added.

“One thing is for sure, the Labour Party need to review their selection process for general election candidates.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Joint winner of the Politician of the Year award, Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, speaks on stage during the Pink News Awards 2017 held at One Great George Street on October 18, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)
(Getty)

Greening, who is the first out woman to serve in the Cabinet, urged Corbyn to act.

“Violent, sexist and homophobic language must have no place in our society,” she said.

Greening added that “parliamentarians of all parties have a duty to stamp out this sort of behaviour wherever we encounter it, and condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”

She concluded: “It is time you step forward, as Leader of the Labour Party, and send a message that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”

(Twitter/Joe Pike)
(Twitter/Joe Pike)

O’Mara is understood to have made a ‘full and frank’ apology behind closed doors to the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting on Monday.

A source close to Corbyn told The Times: “Jared apologised to the parliamentary Labour Party this evening and owned up to having previously been sexist and homophobic.

“His honesty, openness and commitment to tackling these issues was well received by colleagues.”

His apology speech to the PLP has not been made public.

Speaking to Huck Magazine – in an interview which PinkNews was referred to by his office – O’Mara said he did not plan to resign.

“In terms of resigning as an MP? I think there’s a place for me… I want to educate people and help people going through those prejudices grow out of them,” he said.

“I’ve gone on that journey and feel I can help. If a Conservative MP had made similar comments I’d say it depends on what journey they had been on since.

“If they’d honestly changed and believes in equality and egalitarianism then absolutely [they have a place in Parliament], but the very culture of Conservatism doesn’t foster that equality.”

O’Mara added: “It’s important to take ownership of the things you’ve done wrong.

“That’s why I’m not hiding, I’m not going back to my hotel and switching my phone off. I’m dealing with this head on.

“There’s no room for the views I had as a young man in 2017 society, there was not room for those views back then either.”

More: Jared O'Mara, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, LGBT, transphobia

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