Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Jared O'Mara's ex-manager to contest Sheffield Hallam seat

Jared O'Mara
Image caption Jared O'Mara has been an independent MP since resigning from Labour in 2018

The former office manager for controversial Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O'Mara has said he will stand in the general election.

Gareth Arnold tweeted on Saturday that he will stand as Sheffield Democratic Party candidate for the ward.

He was Mr O'Mara's communications manager until July when he resigned because of the MP's "inexcusable contempt" for constituents.

Mr Arnold said he would "be accountable to constituents" if he were elected.

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Mr O'Mara, 37, has been Independent MP for Sheffield Hallam since resigning from Labour in 2018 after being suspended over alleged misogynistic and homophobic comments posted online several years ago.

His victory against former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg in the seat was one of the shocks of the 2017 general election.

Mr O'Mara has spoken publicly about having autism, depression, cerebral palsy and anxiety, and is currently taking "time out" from Parliament for "personal reasons". In September, the Treasury said Mr O'Mara had postponed his resignation as MP.

Image copyright Nicholas Rotherham
Image caption Gareth Arnold was Jared O'Mara's chief of staff until he resigned in July

But Mr O'Mara has also been criticised for leaving constituents without contact when he closed his office for several weeks in April to move buildings and recruit new staff.

Mr Arnold resigned from the office in a flurry of angry tweets three months later.

He tweeted: "Jared, you are the most disgustingly morally bankrupt person I have ever had the displeasure of working with."

If elected, Mr Arnold has said he will hold weekly surgeries and a monthly forum for constituents, and focus on social care and mental health provision, homeless support, and green policies.

The Sheffield MPs are Clive Betts, Paul Blomfield, Louise Haigh, Angela Smith and Gill Furniss, all Labour, and Mr O'Mara for Independent.

Olivia Blake, former deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, will stand as Sheffield Hallam's Labour candidate.

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