The controversial Sheffield MP Jared O’Mara has this evening resigned from the Labour Party and claimed he was ‘made to feel like a criminal’ over comments made before becoming a politician.
The MP for Sheffield Hallam was suspended from the party last October following the discovery of misogynistic and offensive comments he posted online when aged in his twenties, and the allegation that he called a constituent an ‘ugly bi**h’ weeks before polling day in 2017.
The 36-year-old revealed a few days ago how he was suffering from depression during the height of the ordeal and made three attempts on his life.
He was eventually readmitted to the party last week but he has now quit Labour though will stay on as an MP.
In a resignation letter, he wrote: “It is with great sadness that today I have decided to announce my departure from the Labour Party with immediate effect.
“I feel I have not been listened to or been given a fair investigation as I do not believe they considered my supporting evidence or got in touch with my witnesses.
“Furthermore, I am of the opinion that the Labour Party no longer shares my commitment to the true definition of equality and compassion.
“There is no doubt that I made mistakes as a young man using distasteful language as a clumsy attempt at satire and sarcasm online. But that does not mean that is who I am today.”
He added: “I am sure that there may be many of us who have done things in our past which we wished we had never done. That said, you can’t take it away and I am truly sorry for any offence that I caused.
“I didn’t commit any crimes, yet I have been made unfairly to feel like a criminal. Nobody should be made to feel ashamed for mistakes they make when they are young.”
Referencing an interview with ITV in which he revealed attempts on his own life, he added: “I believe I am the first autistic MP in our history, and this sadly got lost in the narrative of my interview with ITV earlier this week.
“I ask for everybody to go on the internet and read about autism, and about my other disabilities; clinical depression, cerebral palsy and anxiety. Then, with that reading and research, seek to exercise empathy over apathy and antipathy.”
He added: “I would be lying to those of you whom I represent, and those close to me like my parents and sister respectively, if I continued under the pretence that I feel there is a place of acceptance and empathy for me as a working class, underprivileged disabled man within the Labour Party.
“I have experienced little to make me feel welcome, understood and accepted during this last year.”
But Mr O’Mara, who defeated Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats in a surprise victory at the snap general election in 2017, confirmed he would stay on as an MP.
In a message to constituents, he said: “I might be leaving Labour but I am still at your side.”