Labour MP Jared O’Mara apologises over offensive social media comments
The member for Sheffield Hallam had yet to make his maiden speech when online comments emerged.
Labour MP Jared O’Mara has said he is “ashamed of the man I was” as he apologised for sexist and homophobic comments he posted on social media.
The Sheffield Hallam MP was suspended from the Labour Party last year after a series of postings – many dating back over a number of years – came to light, but he was readmitted earlier this month after receiving a formal warning.
In an apologetic statement issued through the party on Monday, Mr O’Mara explained how he grew up “in an era when lad culture and prejudicial language were normalised” and how he repeated slurs which had been levelled at him “as a way of deflecting from my own low self-esteem and depression”.
The party’s national executive committee disputes panel ruled earlier this month that the case did not meet the threshold required to be referred for expulsion but that he should undergo mandatory training.
In his statement, Mr O’Mara, 36, 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.”
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. Jared O'Mara
Mr O’Mara 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 journey 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.”
Mr O’Mara’s shock victory over the former deputy prime minister and leader of the Lib Dems, Nick Clegg, was one of the most memorable moments of the 2017 general election.
But he had not even made his maiden speech in the Commons when comments emerged that he had made in his early 20s, including inviting the band Girls Aloud to an orgy and joking about the musician Jamie Cullum being “sodomised to death”.