A former Sheffield MP has been found to have breached Parliament’s sexual misconduct policy, after an employee complained of receiving inappropriate messages.
Jared O’Mara showed a “lack of remorse” and a “refusal to engage” over the allegation, a committee of the Commons Independent Expert Panel said in a report published on Monday.
Ex-employee Jennifer Barnes raised a formal complaint after saying she received inappropriate messages and approaches from the then MP in July 2019.
Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone concluded that his behaviour breached the sexual misconduct policy and “amounted to an abuse of power”, according to the report.
Mr O’Mara did not defend the seat of Sheffield Hallam in the last election, therefore limiting the panel’s disciplinary options to removal of the right to hold a former member’s pass to access Parliament.
Panel chairman Sir Stephen Irwin advised that Mr O’Mara was stripped of the right, a recommendation backed by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
Mr O’Mara won the constituency for Labour from former Lib Dem leader Sir Nick Clegg in 2017, but later left the party during a series of controversies.
The panel said Ms Barnes agreed to be identified in its report and has previously discussed her allegations with the media.
After quitting her work for Mr O’Mara, Ms Barnes was quoted by the BBC as saying: “I am in tears and I am just like ‘this is it, I can’t go back now’.
“It almost makes me kind of shiver, being spoken to by someone who is 17 years older than me, he is my boss, he’s an MP.”
From PA Media