'Jared O'Mara is what happens when you let far left ideology trump an MP's character'

The brief Parliamentary career of Jared O'Mara has crashed and burned in spectacular style just four months since his shock election victory in the Sheffield Hallam constituency, writes Bernard Ingham.

O’Mara, 35, was forced this week to quit the Women’s and Equality Committee and then suspended by the Labour party after a series of his vile online postings came to light.

The details are too revolting for you to read over breakfast, so suffice it to say he managed to insult women, homosexuals, foreigners and overweight people.

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The big question everyone is asking now is how such a thoroughly unpleasant misogynist came to be an MP in the first place. The answer to that question gives a fascinating insight into both the Left’s obsession with identity politics, and also the civil war raging in the Labour party between the Corbynite ultras and the people they deride as “centrist dads”.

The oafish O’Mara was never likely Parliamentary material. Brash, arrogant, with a foul mouth and a quick temper, he lacked any real political experience, having twice failed to be elected to Sheffield City Council.

He was also, putting it as mildly as I can, not what you would call the sharpest knife in Labour’s cutlery drawer.So how was he chosen as the party’s candidate in Hallam? Well he had two important things going for him; first his unswerving devotion to Jeremy Corbyn and second the fact he was disabled.

You might not think the latter (he suffers from cerebral palsy) should matter very much, but it gave him precious bonus points that helped him climb the Left’s all-important hierarchy of victimhood.

And O’Mara was never hesitant to play the victim card, regularly complaining that he suffered double discrimination because of his disability and the fact he has red hair. Disabled and ginger – bingo!

It is interesting to note that throughout an illustrious career at the very the top of British politics another son of Sheffield, David Blunkett, never once bleated about being a victim, despite being blind from boyhood.

But identity politics is only part of the solution to the mystery of O’Mara’s selection – you also have to understand the poisonous feud taking place within the party.In the 2015 election, with a strong candidate in Oliver Coppard, Labour had high hopes of capturing the Sheffield Hallam seat from the then Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.

Clegg’s broken promises over tuition fees proved particularly toxic in a constituency with a significant proportion of student voters.

Labour was confident it was winnable and poured resources into Hallam. So it came as a terrible disappointment when Clegg clung onto the seat with a majority of more than 2,300 votes.

After that Labour lost interest in Hallam. If they couldn’t win it when the Lib Dems were at their lowest ebb, they would never win it – or so it was thought.

In other words, O’Mara only got the gig because Labour didn’t think it could win. But because O’Mara was on the far Left, he attracted the support of the Corbynista shock troops of

Momentum, who organised a highly effective campaign in 2017.

While the regional Labour party was telling supporters to shore up the “centrist” MP Angela Smith in Penistone and Stocksbridge, young activists were pouring into Hallam to boost

O’Mara’s campaign. They even brought in a young American veteran of Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic nomination for President to advise on the “response cycle” – a psychological persuasion technique.

When the stunning result was announced on election night – O’Mara beat Clegg by over 2,000 votes – the shock was clear, not least on the face of the victorious candidate.

This was a victory that happened in spite of, not because of Labour’s national and regional officials. The victors certainly had a point when they described O’Mara as “Momentum’s first MP”.

Momentum are now desperately trying to distance themselves from the monster they created. It won’t work. They certainly knew of concerns about O’Mara, particularly his attitude towards women, at the time of the election. They just didn’t care so long as he remained loyal to Jezza.

I am tempted to say this is what happens when you allow the far Left to choose your candidates. That is true, but probably more importantly this is what happens when you allow ideology to trump the one thing that really matters in an MP – character.