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Sat, 24 October 2020

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Kate Osamor given warning by Parliament watchdogs over threat to 'smash journalist's face in'

Kate Osamor given warning by Parliament watchdogs over threat to 'smash journalist's face in'
3 min read

Labour MP Kate Osamor has been given a warning by parliamentary watchdogs for threatening to "smash a journalist's face in" with a bat.

The former frontbencher lost her temper with a Times reporter following her son Ishmael's conviction for drug offences.

He pleaded guilty to having £2,500-worth of drugs at the Bestival event in August 2017 after being caught with ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and cannabis.

Ms Osamor was also rapped by the Standards Committee for writing to the judge in the case asking for leniency on House of Commons notepaper.

The committee ruled that she had breached the MPs' code of conduct, but said she had suffered enough after she was forced to quit as Shadow International Development Secretary.

However, she has been ordered to make a personal apology to the House of Commons.

According to the committee's report, Ms Osamor told the Times reporter that she should have "come down here with a bat and smashed your face in" when he turned up outside her house.

The watchdog said her behaviour was "highly regrettable" but had come as a "hot-blooded reaction to a difficult personal situation".

They added: "She did not, in the heat of the moment, show a proper concern for the impact of her conduct on the reputation of the House and of her colleagues."

The report said the Edmonton MP had hand-delivered the character reference to the judge, asking they give her "beautiful son", who worked as an aide in her Commons office, a "second chance".

The committee said the note "wrongly gave the impression that her correspondence carried the authority of the House".

And they said while there was "nothing wrong" with using Commons notepaper to defend an employee, Ms Osamor had been "unwise" to do so when the employee was her own son.

They added: "It is clear from the contents of Ms Osamor's letter that she was not seeking to interfere in an improper way with the course of justice, simply to make representations on behalf of her son which she considered herself entitled, as a mother and an employer, to make."

The committee said Ms Osamor had already "paid a price" for her actions after she resigned as Shadow International Development Secretary over the row in December 2018.

"The committee recommends that Ms Osamor should apologise to the House, through a letter to the committee, for her breaches of the code of conduct," the report said.

"The written apology, when received, will be published on the committee’s website. The committee add that if Ms Osamor were to commit any further similar breaches of the code, a serious view of the matter would be taken."

 

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