- Labour MP Jared O’Mara quits the Women and Equalities Select Committee after homophobic and sexist online posts he made emerged. O’Mara said he was “deeply ashamed of the comments” which included calling gay men “fudge packers.” Labour MPs call for the Sheffield Hallam MP to be suspended from the party before an investigation.
LONDON – Labour MP Jared O’Mara has been forced to resign from the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee after homophobic and sexist comments he made online emerged yesterday.
O’Mara apologised for a series of offensive remarks made on online forums he made more than a decade ago made public on Monday, which included sexist and homophobic statements.
The Sheffield Hallam MP, who unseated former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in June, said he was “deeply ashamed of the comments,” which were revealed by the Guido Fawkes website.
In the published posts O’Mara suggested 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.
The Labour MP also joked about having sex with members of Girls Aloud, and said that Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus was only successful “because she was fat.”
He initially apologised “for any offence caused” before later releasing a statement saying: “I am deeply ashamed of the comments I made online, which have emerged today. I was wrong to make them; I understand why they are offensive and sincerely apologise for my use of such unacceptable language.
“I made the comments as a young man, at a particularly difficult time in my life, but that is no excuse. Misogyny is a deep problem in our society. Since making those comments 15 years ago, I have learnt about inequalities of power and how violent language perpetuates them.”
He was forced to step down from the select committee after further posts emerged that were homophobic, including the comment: “I find it funny how some homosexuals think they have the monopoly on being subject to abuse, they should try being ginger … AND disabled!”
Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted: “I’m sad he said and thought it, I’m glad he’s apologised. I hope people are learning.”
I've been with my kids all day as it is half term so only just seeing the Jared stuff. I'm sad he said and thought it, I'm glad he's apologised. I hope people are learning.
— Jess Phillips (@jessphillips) October 23, 2017
Another female Labour MP, Tulip Siddiq, who also sits on the committee told the Guardian: “Jared’s comments are obviously unacceptable and he’s rightfully apologised for making them.
“Jared has, however, told me personally that he’s been on a very long journey since he posted the comments 15 years ago, made at a troubled time in his life, and I think it takes some self-awareness to acknowledge that and say it publicly. He should get some credit for that.”
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven, the former leader of Sheffield city council, said: “It is becoming clear now that the Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam has very deeply held sexist and homophobic views that have no place in modern progressive politics. He should have the Labour whip withdrawn pending an investigation.”
Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston said: “Sheffield Hallam deserves a by-election.”
— Sarah Wollaston (@sarahwollaston) October 23, 2017
Fellow Tory backbencher Mims Davies said O’Mara’s “past language and attitude [was] not at all parliamentary.”
O’Mara apologised again at the parliamentary Labour party meeting on Monday night, including to Stephen Doughty, the co-chair of Labour’s LGBT PLP group.
Doughty said: “I raised my deep concerns directly in person with Jared this afternoon and have received a frank apology.”