'I'm like the ginger Oprah' - Sheffield MP Jared O'Mara hits back over criticism of Tramlines fringe DJ set

Sheffield MP Jared O’Mara bizarrely dubbed himself ‘the ginger Oprah’, as he defended his decision to perform as part of the upcoming Tramlines Festival fringe.

Sunday, 30th June 2019, 15:52 pm

The Sheffield Hallam MP announced yesterday he would be playing a secret DJ set as part of the Tramlines Festival fringe, at which he planned to hand out free book vouchers, but the news was not universally welcomed.

Numerous critics suggested the independent MP, who quit the Labour Party after sensationally ousting Nick Clegg in 2017, should focus more on representing his constituents than indulging his love of music.

Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O'Mara

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The 38-year-old has faced criticism in the past over his attendance record at Parliament, especially after missing a key Brexit vote earlier this year – though he has claimed his autism and cerebral palsy, along with more recent health problems, have made it harder for him to appear there.

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He closed his constituency office in April, following reports all his staff were either sacked or let go – but he recently announced he had appointed a new team which would be based in the city centre, and said he felt ‘really energised going forward’.

Given his controversial record, there was an inevitable backlash from some quarters to news that the former West Street Live DJ would again be taking to the decks – but he was quick to respond.

Jared O'Mara MP responds to one critic on Twitter

Sarah Williams tweeted: “Argh!!! Just when you thought he couldn't be more out of touch with his constituents.”

Mr O’Mara fired back: “Actually, students really like live music and book vouchers. I'm like the ginger Oprah of South Yorkshire.”

Another person, referring to The Star’s article, joked ‘calling him an MP is a bit strong?’, to which the MP replied ‘agreed - Musical Prodigy is a stretch’.

It wasn’t all jokes, with the embattled politician responding in earnest to some of the criticism coming his way on Twitter.

Chris Davies tweeted: “Why not try working in the role you get very well paid for – the clue is in your Twitter username - MP.”

To this, he replied: “Hi Chris – check my Twitter feed for updates of my work. It’s been a very very busy month and the next few will be even busier.”

Fiona Sampson tweeted: “It's great that you're feeling better and up to doing DJ sets. Hopefully this means you'll be back in parliament and returning to your role as an MP. You can't really be too surprised that your constituents are annoyed by this announcement when we have had no-one representing us.”

He tweeted back: “Voting on Tuesday. Business as usual. I've battled physical and mental health since becoming an MP. The fire in my belly I felt since a child to fight injustice has returned.”