The controversial Sheffield MP Jared O'Mara has revealed he suffered a mental breakdown and made three attempts on his life after being suspended from the Labour Party.
The MP for Sheffield Hallam had the whip withdrawn last October by Labour following the discovery of misogynistic and offensive comments he posted online in his twenties, and the allegation that he called a constituent an ‘ugly bitch’ weeks before polling day in 2017, but was readmitted to the party a week ago.
Speaking to ITV's Calendar news programme, Mr O'Mara said he spent weeks 'shaking and crying' at the height of the scandal, and asked for forgiveness for his behaviour.
He said he had been suffering from clinical depression, admitted being an online 'troll' in his twenties and that his autism left him unable to read faces or body language. Mr O'Mara, 36, is disabled and was born with cerebral palsy.
"I made three attempts on my life," he said. "I was harassed and hounded by the press. I was too scared to go home and I was just a mess - I was shaking, I was crying and that lasted for weeks."
Becoming tearful in front of the camera, he added: "I want people to be open about issues with mental health and not be ashamed about it and to talk to people. The best thing I have done this year is learn to talk to my mum. It's really changed me because I can be myself, finally."
Mr O'Mara said he would not be standing down as an MP and accepted he had 'a lot of apologising to do'. But he stated: "When somebody has made mistakes there's got to be a stage where you try and forgive them."
The politician, who defeated Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats in a surprise victory at the snap general election in 2017, has been voting in line with the Labour whip and submitting written questions, but has yet to speak in Parliament. However, he told ITV he would make his maiden speech later this month.
Mr O'Mara previously claimed he got swept up in laddish attitudes that warped his mind, turning him into a ‘bitter and spiteful person’. His comments included joking about having an orgy with members of Girls Aloud; he also wrote that a winner of the TV talent show Pop Idol, Michelle McManus, only triumphed 'because she was fat'.
Labour has told him to undertake mandatory training.