Ex-Labour MP Jared O'Mara to resign from parliament

The MP for Sheffield Hallam said he was ‘not in any fit state to continue’ in post

The independent MP Jared O’Mara has said he will resign, a day after announcing he would be taking time out to address his mental health issues.

The former Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam, who defeated the former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in 2017, was thrust into the spotlight after his former aide claimed he was “the most disgustingly morally bankrupt person I have ever had the displeasure of working with”. Another junior staffer accused him of sexually harassing her.

O’Mara, who has cerebral palsy and autism, told the Sheffield Star on Saturday that he would step down in September.

“Please let everyone be assured that I will be tendering my resignation via the official parliamentary process as soon as term restarts,” he said.

“I am not in any fit state to continue and nor would that be appropriate if I was. I reiterate my apology to my constituents, the people of Sheffield and the people of the UK as whole.”

The Lib Dems will welcome a by election for the seat – which O’Mara won for Labour with a majority of just over 2,000 – later this year. Laura Gordon, the prospective Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for the constituency, said: “By resigning, Jared is doing the right thing both for himself and his constituents. This byelection can send a powerful message for change and the Lib Dems are ready for the challenge.”

Olivia Blake, Labour’s candidate, said: “This is the right decision for Jared and for the people of Sheffield Hallam; I hope he gets the support he needs.

“The Labour party is ready for a byelection. Hallam needs a Labour MP who will represent and support local people and seek to reverse the damage done by almost a decade of austerity under the Tories and the Lib Dems.”

On Friday, in a statement on his website, the MP apologised to his friends, family and constituents, saying: “I have not been honest with you about the depths of my depression and self-loathing.”

O’Mara told the Times that allegations made by a junior member of staff about repeated messages he had sent to her proclaiming his feelings for her and making remarks about her appearance were true. He said the declaration of love had been made during a delusional episode.

The 20-year-old woman said she had been made to feel “intimidated and degraded”.

O’Mara was suspended from the Labour party when a series of sexist and homophobic tweets emerged, written before he was elected. He quit Labour in July last year and announced he would be carrying on as an independent, refusing to call a byelection.

Contributor

Mattha Busby

The GuardianTramp

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