The embattled Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara has cancelled his constituency surgery tomorrow following his suspension by Labour.
Mr O’Mara is meant to hold weekly meetings with constituents at his office on Tapton House Road, Broomhill, every Friday – but the MP has gone to ground, calling off this week’s session amid controversy fuelled by comments he made online and allegations about his behaviour.
A member of his staff confirmed he would not be attending, and was unable to say when surgeries would resume.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats have brought forward their selection process to find a new candidate for Sheffield Hallam. It is understood there are five candidates, but Mr O’Mara’s predecessor, Nick Clegg, is not among them.
The development follows reports that Labour knew of the claims about Mr O’Mara a month ago, despite claiming it only found out about the comments on Monday.
The Labour Party has withdrawn the whip from Mr O’Mara in the wake of a string of sexist, racist and homophobic posts he made on internet forums.
Some date from as long ago as 2002, but he is also accused of calling a bar worker, Sophie Evans, an ‘ugly bitch’ on a night out in March this year.
Mr O’Mara, 36, who has cerebral palsy and has campaigned on disability rights, resigned from the Women and Equalities select committee on Tuesday. He issued an apology, saying he was ‘deeply ashamed’ and admitting the ‘offensive’ nature of his comments.
More online posts emerged earlier today. In messages to followers of his band Dirty Rotten Troubadours, the future MP - then aged 24 - claimed he only slept with ‘pretty’ women who shared his principles: “Any girl that would like to make whoopee with me must be passionate about charity and the fight against social injustice.”
Spencer Pitfield, a four-time Conservative candidate in Sheffield and Chesterfield, said being an MP was a ‘tough job’ with ‘high standards’.
“He could be replaced by any Labour MP - it’s not party politics,” said Mr Pitfield, who lives in the Hallam constituency.
The selection process that led to Mr O’Mara’s election has also come under further scrutiny.
Labour, which has launched an investigation into Mr O’Mara’s conduct, admitted yesterday that the party did not interview him before he was picked.