EXCLUSIVE: Jared O’Mara to resign as Sheffield Hallam MP
Under-fire Jared O’Mara will be resigning as Sheffield Hallam MP within weeks, The Star can exclusively reveal after he stated ‘he was not in a fit state to continue’.
Mr O’Mara has endured a damning week after his former chief of staff Gareth Arnold resigned via a foul-mouthed rant on the MP’s own official Twitter account and a 20-year-old woman employed by the politician accused him of sexual harassment.
The MP, aged 37, said he was ‘not well and in the process of receiving medical help’ and would resign following the MPs’ summer recess, which is due to end on Tuesday, September 3.
Mr O’Mara said: “Please let everyone be assured that I will be tendering my resignation via the official Parliamentary process as soon as term restarts.
“I am not in any fit state to continue and nor would that be appropriate if I was. I reiterate my apology to my constituents, the people of Sheffield and the people of the UK as whole.”
It comes after The Times published further details of the sexual harassment claims, including that the member of staff had “repressed sexual feelings” for him and claimed he also told his staff: “I’ll have to nickname myself ‘Thrush’ because I irritate c***s.”
While much of Mr O’Mara’s two years representing the constituency has been characterised by controversy and criticism, this week may have been the most challenging yet for the 37-year-old.
It began on Tuesday evening, when Mr O’Mara’s aide, Gareth Arnold, took over his official Twitter account to announce his resignation in a barrage of foul-mouthed posts, in which he claimed Mr O’Mara had ‘contempt’ for his constituents and urged him to call a by-election.
Mr Arnold said he had taken up the position eight weeks ago because he was a friend of Mr O’Mara’s and had been told by those around him that he was the one person who could ‘help him try and turn it around’.
Mr O’Mara, who has cerebral palsy and is autistic, refused to comment on the claims made by Mr Arnold until Thursday afternoon, when a lengthy ‘joint’ statement from the pair was released on his official website.
The statement said Mr O’Mara would be ‘sticking with’ Gareth and described him as the ‘Noel to his Liam,’ referencing the Gallagher brothers of rock band Oasis and their infamously turbulent relationship.
It stated Mr O’Mara would be taking some time out to seek professional help for his mental health, and that he wanted to apologise to his family, friends, constituents and a staff member he said he was in love with during a ‘delusional episode’.
The statement was released less than 10 hours before the allegations made by the same staff member were made public.
Excerpts from a grievance letter the 20-year-old sent to Mr O’Mara last week were published on The Times’ website at midnight on Friday, and stated that his sexual harassment of her had left her feeling ‘uncomfortable to the point at which I feel I can no longer stay silent’.
It also included text messages he sent her, including one she received last week in which he claimed to be ‘madly in love’ with her.
Mr O’Mara is also alleged to have told her he would die for her ‘coz ur an angel’ and that he was ‘excited about what we could do together’.
And today The Times has published WhatsApp messages it has seen, in which Mr O’Mara described the sexual attraction he felt for the member of staff.
He said that he was ‘madly in love’ with her and would die for her ‘coz ur an angel’. He also called her a ‘delicate little flower’ who was ‘effortlessly pretty’.
She claims he described her as ‘effortlessly pretty’ and a ‘delicate little flower’ in other messages.
When asked to comment specifically on the allegations, Mr O’Mara said: “It’s all true.”
The statement added: “The poor attendance was due to my mental health. The jokes were jokes and I am not apologising for them. Nor should anyone who writes jokes as a form of fiction.
“Please understand that humour is fiction and an art form. I’m not calling myself a comedian, however to be clear. My sense of humour has always been blue. And dark and satirical.”
He added: “I don’t even see gender. I see people as individuals. Now please respect my privacy and allow me to focus on my health rather than trying to drive me to suicide again with straw man sensationalism about my views on sex and equality.
“I will always stand up for free speech. I reiterate my apology but messages during my delusion were never sexual. Nor did I ever have any attraction to her. I was going through a delusional episode. If you must know, like many disabled people and mentally ill people, I barely have a libido.
“Now please everyone don’t hound me to my death and give me some space.”