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Labour MP Jared O’Mara blames ‘lad culture’ for posts mocking ‘fudge packers’

Nick Duffy July 10, 2018

Newly-reinstated Labour MP Jared O’Mara has blamed “lad culture” for posts he made mocking “fudge packers” and “poofters”.

O’Mara, the MP for Sheffield Hallam, was suspended last year after it was revealed he had posted a string of homophobic and anti-LGBT messages.

The messages, sent while O’Mara was a Labour candidate in the early 2000s, referred to gay people as “fudge packers” and “poofters” and alluded to anal sex as “driving up the Marmite motorway”, referring to jazz musician Jamie Cullum as a “conceited c**t” who should be “sodomised with his own piano”.

Jared O’Mara

O’Mara was suspended when a continuous string of xenophobic comments and allegations about his behaviour continued to come to light – but the politician was quietly reinstated as a Member of Parliament last week despite calls for his permanent expulsion.

In a statement breaking months of silence on the issue, O’Mara confirmed he would attend diversity training as mandated by the  internal disputes panel, which is controlled by pro-Corbyn factions within the party.

O’Mara said: “I am pleased that this matter is now resolved and that I can focus my attention fully on representing the people of Sheffield Hallam as their Labour MP.

“I regret that this has impacted upon them and will work hard to restore the faith they put in me at last year’s general election.

“I will also work hard with my Party colleagues to build a more equal society for all. I hope they will see that I have changed and give me a second chance.”

He added: “I want to use this opportunity to restate my full and unreserved apology for the comments I made online as a young man. I grew up in an environment where lad culture and prejudicial language were normalised.

“I was in a bad place back then, and after being bullied and called many of those abusive slurs myself, I repeated them as a way of deflecting from my own low self-esteem and depression.

“But this is not an excuse and I take full responsibility for the unacceptable language I used.

“I am ashamed of the man I was then. I’ve been on a joudrney of education since, and I am continuing to listen to and learn from others’ experiences and educate myself about tackling prejudice and discrimination. I will be pleased to attend the training mandated by the panel, and I hope this will deepen my understanding of these issues further.”

Out Tory MP Justine Greening previously said O’Mara’s comments showed “the deep and persistent stain on Labour’s ability to represent women, the LGBT community and wider society.”

Jared O’Mara

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

He has never spoken about the homophobic nature of the remarks directly.

In a previous statement he said: “I am deeply ashamed of the comments I made online.

“I was wrong to make them; I understand why they are offensive and sincerely apologise for my use of such unacceptable language. I made the comments as a young man, at a particularly difficult time in my life, but that is no excuse.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

“Misogyny is a deep problem in our society. Since making those comments 15 years ago, I have learned about inequalities of power and how violent language perpetuates them.

“I continue to strive to be a better man and work where I can to confront misogyny… I will continue to engage with, and crucially learn from, feminist and other equalities groups so as an MP I can do whatever I can to tackle misogyny.”

Speaking to Huck Magazine in October, O’Mara said: “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.”

He declined multiple interview requests from PinkNews.

 

More: Gay, Jared O'Mara, LGBT, O'Mara, Politics

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