Labour MP quits committee over offensive comments

Written by Liz Bates on 24 October 2017 in News

Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara has been forced to stand down from the Women and Equalities Committee

Westminster: Picture credit - PA

Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara has been forced to stand down from the Women and Equalities Committee after misogynistic and homophobic comments he had written online emerged.

The newly elected Labour MP quit the committee after issuing a public apology last night.

O’Mara wrote degrading comments about women and homophobic slurs in internet forums, before he was elected to Parliament.

The remarks, which were first revealed by the Guido Fawkes website, also attacked fat people.

In one post he said singer Michelle McManus had only won Pop Idol “because she was fat”, and suggested it would be funny if the jazz star Jamie Cullum were “sodomised with his own piano”.

The Labour leadership condemned the revelations as "horrendous" and "vile" but sources told the BBC he would not be suspended from the parliamentary party.

The MP, who unseated former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in June’s snap election released a statement last night, saying he was "deeply ashamed" of the comments.

He added: "I understand why they are offensive and deeply 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."

However, LGBT Labour tweeted: "Whilst we recognise that these comments were made some time ago, that doesn't excuse such ignorance and bigotry.”

But Ilford North MP Wes Streeting leapt to his colleague’s defence, saying in a statement: "He offered what seemed to be a heartfelt and genuine apology and admitted that these are views he once held, which took guts.

"The battle for equality is a battle for hearts and minds and that must surely mean that people are allowed to change their views and therefore must also be offered a second chance.

"I hope I don't end up eating my words and that he demonstrates his commitment to equality as a new MP. I think we owe him that chance."

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