BY JON ALEXANDER
The snap General Election last June threw up a few surprises, not least the ousting of Former Lib-Dem Leader and ex Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Initially this was touted as a huge coup for the Labour Party which up until April had been trailing in the polls quite badly to the Conservatives.
Not only did the loss of Clegg’s seat deliver a huge blow to the Liberal Democrats, it gave Jeremy Corbyn a personal boost, as the winner of Clegg’s Sheffield seat was Jared O’Mara – a vocal Corbyn and Momentum supporter.
Six months on from O’Mara’s election night victory party, and he is currently suspended from the Labour Party for various vile comments made on social media over the last seven years. The Labour Party background checkers let a shark through the net. As it turns out, Jared’s selection was a rather rushed process by the National Executive Committee instead of by the local constituency party – at least, that is Labour’s lacklustre excuse.
O’Mara’s certainly proved himself to be a charmer, that’s for sure – if he was not asking the members of Girls Aloud for an orgy, he was claiming that celeb Michelle McManus only won 2003’s Pop Idol because she was fat. When you throw in homophobic, misogynistic and racist comments, O’Mara now stands out for all the wrong reasons. And it seems O’Mara’s attempts to win people over didn’t stop there. Not content with making transphobic comments towards a colleague years ago, he went on to insult the children of Sheffield, his own constituency.
It turns out O’Mara didn’t let his own disability stop him from achieving in life (he has Cerebral Palsy) as he stood by and watched his bouncer friends throw a woman out of a nightclub for rowing with him – this member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee also watched his friends give the woman a black eye, allegedly. A true champion of Momentum values, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Corbyn’s Labour were desperately slow to suspend O’Mara – which none of us should be surprised at judging by the long time they are taking with recent rape allegations by Labour activist victims. From O’Mara the public received an apology of sorts for his behaviour, the usual “I’m sorry IF I caused offence” garbage but the damage was already done and eventually he had the Labour whip withdrawn.
Since October the 23rd O’Mara hasn’t spoken publicly in Parliament or his constituency of Sheffield Hallam and has limited his MP duties, apparently on the advice of his GP.
So, what next for Labour’s wonder boy? Well it does leave Sheffield Hallam’s Labour Party with quite the conundrum doesn’t it?
Country Squire’s favourite Labour source in Westminster tells us that Labour Party apparatchiks have secretly asked O’Mara to step down around February/March time on the grounds of ill health. He’ll be paid off of course, but a figure isn’t being touted. Estimates are that it will probably be an MP’s yearly salary, but this presents Labour with a major problem. Technically O’Mara is an independent. They are worried about what O’Mara knows and his deep Momentum ties. O’Mara is not prepared to just walk away and keep quiet, so perhaps he will maintain some kind of role in Momentum or receive a Momentum pay-off also for his silence.
It looks like a by-election will happen by April. Chances are that O’Mara has damaged Labour’s chances of winning, which could potentially hand the seat back to Nick Clegg (unlikely to risk standing again) and the Lib-Dems. This could even hand the Tories a new seat if voters decide they’ve had enough of the other parties, although this outcome seems unlikely given the constituency. Labour’s candidate choice will divide the Labour Party again as no doubt Momentum will try and install a Corbyn supporter as a candidate, a course of action which local Labour party traditionalists are desperate to stop.
Either which way, keep an eye on the Jared O’Mara story this year, as it has Labour in a tizzy. Labour will no doubt be waiting for a major news day to slip out their bad news when few eyes can see the next chapter in this tale of epic incompetence. Those journalists watching should seek to negate the “ill health” resignation option by keeping an eagle eye on O’Mara in the meantime.