The case of Jared O'Mara is one many political parties should consider
In the 2017 general election, O'Mara contested the constituency of Sheffield Hallam, held by Nick Clegg, the former Liberal Democrat leader and former Deputy Prime Minister. He was selected in an emergency selection process for the snap election under the control of the National Executive Committee and regional boards, rather than by the local constituency party.
It was a seat the party and Mr O'Mara did not expect to win
True it we technically a marginal seat
|Liberal Democrat||Nick Clegg||19,756||34.7||-5.3|
|Labour gain from Liberal Democrat||Swing||+4.0|
|Liberal Democrat||Nick Clegg||27,324||53.4||+7.2|
|English Democrat||David Wildgoose||586||1.1||N/A|
|Monster Raving Loony||Mark Adshead||164||0.3||N/A|
|Liberal Democrat hold||Swing||+6.9|
Indeed so unprepared was Mr O'Mara that he There was a story circulating in 2017 that O'Mara had to go out and buy a suit on the Tuesday before polling day, as it was only then he realised he might have to give an acceptance speech
After joining Parliament, O'Mara became a member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, but resigned in October 2017, following the publication of offensive comments about women and gay men that he had made in 2009 and earlier.
O'Mara was suspended from the Labour Party on 25 October 2017, following further reports of online comments made before his election that have been described as racist, homophobic and misogynistic. It was stated that O'Mara was reinstated in the Labour Party in July 2018,[ a claim he denied. He now sits as an independent MP.
On 27 July 2019, O'Mara announced that he would resign as a Member of Parliament in September 2019, after the summer recess. Three weeks later, it was announced that O'Mara had been arrested on suspicion of fraud.
As a Liberal Democrat Blogger to their credit points out
O'Mara has various physical health problems, including cerebral palsy. He also has a history of mental ill-health. We Liberal Democrats often talk the talk on health issues, and especially on mental health, but we also have to walk the walk. We can ill-afford to join those sneering at O'Mara, adding to his anxiety. Similarly, we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that O'Mara is, in health terminology, an "adult at risk".
To say there was a huge reaction to this on social media is something of an understatement. Some demanded O'Mara resigns and allows for a by-election. Some questioned Arnold's professionalism in making his differences with his employer public. Others lamented that such a "talentless" person ever won the seat in the first instance. But most were just captivated by the drama of it - yet another bizarre turn in the story of how our democracy has been transformed into a circus.
I have to say I'm a little uncomfortable with these tweets and the voyeuristic reaction to them. Politics, and the lives of those involved in it, should not be allowed to become akin to some Victorian freak show. People with disabilities do not deserve to become ridiculed - while Arnold focused on O'Mara's alleged "moral bankruptcy" (he does not reveal his reasons for this damning judgement) others were happy to add O'Mara's well-known health difficulties into the mix. None of this is helpful. Public shaming is nothing to be proud of.
There are of course a number of MPs who have both physical and mental disabilities , but Mr O'Mara seems to have really struggled in the Westminster atmosphere and Labour should exam it whether it should have sought to aid Mr O'Mara in his difficulties .
We see "Paper Candidate" pit up by all political parties and the 2017 surprise election forced parties to select candidates without enough scrutiny.
It comes as no surprise that a number of these may have a dubious past and be unsuited to represent their party in a legislator.
The case of Jared O'Mara should not be one of derision, but of concern.