- Labour investigating the behaviour of its MP Jared O’Mara after he was alleged to have verbally abused a woman in March.
- Labour MPs have called for O’Mara to be suspended from the party while the investigation takes place.
- O’Mara denies the latest allegations, which follow the publication of sexist and homophobic comments he made more than a decade ago.
LONDON — Labour has begun an investigation into MP Jared O’Mara after a woman claimed he verbally abused her earlier this year.
Labour MPs have also called for O’Mara to be suspended while the investigation takes place. The Sheffield Hallam MP is alleged to have called Sophie Evans “an ugly bitch” in a Sheffield nightclub in March.
It follows revelations that O’Mara had left sexist, homophobic and xenophobic comments on online forums more than a decade ago, which led to his resignation from the Women and Equalities Select Committee.
A Labour spokesperson said the investigation that has been launched by the party will be related to the allegations made by Evans from March.
Former shadow minister Lucy Powell said: “I think he should be suspended while that investigation takes place.”
Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester Central told ITV’s “After The News” show: “One of the key questions you’re asked when you become a candidate for the Labour Party — and you have to sign a contract to say — is there anything in your past that would bring the party into disrepute?
“And I don’t understand, in all honesty, how Jared could have signed that paper.”
Fellow Labour backbencher Lisa Nandy said last night: “We have quite clear rules in the Labour Party about discrimination and the process is very clear too, that people who have engaged in anti-Semitism or other forms of discriminatory behaviour are suspended while … their case is investigated.
“We have a very clear process in the Labour Party that in my view ought to be upheld … In this case, just as in previous cases, it’s absolutely clear: we suspend and we investigate and we make a decision.”
O’Mara has apologised for the remarks that were exposed by the Guido Fawkes blog. They included suggestions that overweight women do not “deserve our respect,” described gay men as “fudge packers” and “poofters,” and said it would be “quite funny” if musician Jamie Cullum was “sodomised with his own piano” until he died.
Evans told the BBC’s “Daily Politics” she had been verbally abused by O’Mara before he became an MP when she met him while on a night out with friends.
When asked what the MP had said, she replied: “Obviously, some of the things aren’t broadcastable. There were some transphobic slurs in there. He called me an ugly bitch.”
Evans said: “He’s never apologised to me or my friends that were involved in the situation. He’s called us liars. He’s called us liars in the press. He’s been on radio, called us liars. I just find it very, very hard to believe he’s changed.”
O’Mara has denied the allegations.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said that an investigation taking place “would be the normal process” and said: “Any language like that we know is unacceptable and I’m hoping he will apologise for that.”
Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening called on Jeremy Corbyn to suspend O’Mara. In a letter to the Labour leader, she said: “Violent, sexist and homophobic language must have no place in our society, and 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.”
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: “If he did make these remarks, Labour needs to withdraw the whip from him immediately.”
Conservative MP Anna Soubry tweeted that the allegations demand “an immediate denial or explanation” from O’Mara after she had previously called for him to be suspended.
This is a very serious 2017 allegation. It demands an immediate denial or explanation from #JaredOMara in absence of both he must resign https://t.co/Y0pLzi0Djg
— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) October 24, 2017
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