Labour launches probe into MP Jared O'Mara after fresh sexist abuse allegation
Labour has launched an official investigation into Jared O’Mara amid a storm over sexist and racist comments he made in the past.
The Sheffield Hallam MP quit the Women and Equalities Select Committee last night after offensive internet posts he made some 15 years ago were uncovered by Guido Fawkes.
Pressure to launch a full probe mounted after a woman alleged that he called her an “ugly bitch” in a club just eight months ago.
A spokesperson for the Labour party said this afternoon: “The party is investigating Jared O’Mara MP in relation to comments and behaviour which have been reported from earlier this year.”
The investigation relates to an incident in a Sheffield nightclub recounted to the BBC’s Daily Politics by a woman named Sophie Evans, who originally met Mr O’Mara on a dating app.
She said: “Obviously, some of the things aren’t broadcastable. There were some transphobic slurs in there. He called me an ugly bitch.”
A spokesperson for Mr O’Mara denied the allegations. The MP has already been forced to apologise for offensive online comments he made years ago.
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 was “sodomised with his own piano”.
Last night he gave an unreserved apology and told Huck magazine he was “deeply ashamed of the man I was 15 years ago”.
“The culture I grew up in was very different… it was lad culture and football and all that. I got swept up with it and it warped my mindset,” he lamented.
“It turned me into a bitter and spiteful person, if I’m being honest."
Labour MP Chris Bryant this afternoon said it was right for Mr O'Mara to develop views he held in the past and noted that society had also "progressed".
"I would hate it if we lived in a society if no-one was allowed to make a journey," he told the BBC this afternoon.
"I remember dozens of Tory MPs making extremely nasty comments to me as a gay MP less than ten years ago and at the time nobody was outraged, whereas now they would be.
"That’s progress, society has progressed.”
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the language used by Mr O’Mara was “unacceptable and I’m hoping he will apologise for that”.
And Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Dawn Butler said: “It’s not acceptable and it’s completely offensive language.
“I’m pleased that Jared has gone on a journey, I think he has probably got further to go on his journey.”
The Conservatives and Lib Dems have demanded Mr O'Mara be stripped of the Labour party whip.