Former Sheffield MP Jared O'Mara stripped of parliamentary privilege over sexual misconduct
A former Sheffield MP has been stripped of his parliamentary pass privilege over sexual misconduct.
Jared O’Mara sensationally ousted the ex-Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg to claim Sheffield Hallam for Labour in the 2017 general election but his parliamentary career was dogged by controversy and after a spell as an independent MP he stood down in November 2019.
In July 2019, his former employee Jennifer Barnes complained that she had received inappropriate messages and approaches from Mr O’Mara, through various media.
The Commissioner for Standards found that Mr O’Mara had breached parliament’s sexual misconduct policy, a decision the former MP did not appeal.
An independent panel has now recommended that his right to hold a former member’s pass – which any ex-MP can apply for, granting them continued access to the corridors of power – should be withdrawn.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the House of Commons speaker, has confirmed that he is content with this recommendation, it was announced today.
The ruling was made by the Independent Expert Panel, which was set up last year after approval by MPs to determine appeals and sanctions over complaints of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct made against MPs.
Sir Stephen Irwin, chair of the IEP, said: “The panel makes its decisions guided by the principles of natural justice, fairness for all parties, transparency and proportionality. We understand the seriousness of, and the harm caused by, bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct. We are rigorously independent, impartial and objective, acting without any political input or influence.”
According to the panel’s report, because Mr O’Mara is now a former MP, withdrawing his right to the pass was the only sanction available.
The report states: “In light of the aggravating features, in particular the lack of remorse or insight and the refusal to engage, that the withdrawal of the Responder’s right to a pass is the only appropriate and proportionate sanction that will mark the seriousness of the misconduct, address the harm caused to the Reporter by the Responder’s misconduct, and send a signal about the misconduct which declares and upholds standards of behaviour.”
According to the parliamentary website, only one ex-MP, Jim Devine, has had his former member’s pass withdrawn. It was suspended in 2011 when he was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.