Disgraced MP Jared O'Mara quits after employee leaks crude WhatsApp messages


Disgraced independent MP Jared O’Mara will resign when parliament returns in September, his former chief of staff has said.

Mr O’Mara, MP for Sheffield Hallam, announced earlier this week that he would be taking time out from his duties to deal with his “mental health and personal issues regarding self-medication”.

The announcement came after Gareth Arnold, his chief of staff, resigned in a series of tweets published on Mr O’Mara’s Twitter account.

Earlier today, O’Mara’s former employee Jennifer Barnes told The Times he pestered her with a series of “wildly inappropriate” texts, often making misogynistic comments and once telling staff “people should call women c***s more often”.

On Saturday, Mr Arnold said Mr O’Mara had asked him to stay on until a new MP takes the Sheffield Hallam seat.

His announcement that he will resign as MP comes after allegations that he sexually harassed a former employee

 

Mr Arnold said: “From September 3, he’ll be resigning, triggering a by-election.”

He added: “He’s going, there will be a by-election and a new MP before the end of the year.”

Mr O’Mara sensationally took the Sheffield Hallam seat for Labour from former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in 2017.

He had the whip withdrawn after apparently sexist and homophobic comments emerged, which he had posted on social media years earlier, but was readmitted to the party after receiving a formal warning.

But last year, Mr O’Mara resigned from Labour, saying he had been “made unfairly to feel like a criminal”, and now sits as an independent.

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His announcement that he will resign as MP comes after allegations that he sexually harassed a former employee.

But Mr Arnold said he had already made the decision to resign.

His resignation will trigger a by-election

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He said: “Even before this came out, he’d already come to that decision when I spoke to him.

“I think it was an influencing factor but I think he’d already made up his mind.”

In his statement on Thursday, Mr O’Mara said: “I will be taking time out to receive professional help to deal with my mental health and personal issues regarding self-medication.”

He said: “I would like to start by apologising to my family, my friends and my constituents. I have not been honest with you about the depths of my depression and self-loathing.

“When I started this job in 2017 I was a different man: a confident and passionate man that wanted to help others.

“Sadly, I was unable to do that because very quickly I was bullied and mistreated in a harsh and unforgiving environment and that led me to be weak.”





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