Nick Clegg knew about Jared O’Mara allegations but refused to use them during election

That’s the news from Peston on Sunday’s interview with Miriam Gonzalez Durantez:

The allegations against the Labour candidate (and now MP) Jared O’Mara who was fighting the Sheffield Hallam seat against Nick Clegg were much worse than the sort of incidental tittle tattle to which the right response is to ignore and rise above it. Based on what I know, it seems to me a mistake therefore not to have raised these sorts of issues during an election.

Taking care over when to criticise the personality of an opponent is wise. But when you have evidence about issues as serious as sexism and homophobia and the person in question is bidding to become an MP, then – if you have solid evidence – raising them I would even go so far as to say is necessary. Democracy requires the cases for and against candidates, parties and policies to be put before the public.

If you don’t put the case against sexists and bigots to the public, you risk giving them a free pass at political power.

UPDATE: Laura Gordon has now been selected to succeed Nick Clegg. She already got stuck into holding surgeries for constituents in Sheffield Hallam after Jared O’Mara axed his.

UPDATE 2: Jared O’Mara was convicted of expenses fraud.

7 responses to “Nick Clegg knew about Jared O’Mara allegations but refused to use them during election”

  1. Which allegations are we talking about? There are many and no doubt more to come.

    My understanding is that we became aware of the West Street Live incident the day before polling day at which point it was too late to do much. And it is denied – though I don’t doubt it – so it may have looked like a last minute desperate dirty trick.

  2. Except that it isn’t clear that it was either costly or, without the benefit of hindsight, an error of judgement. It may have been, but you are speculating.

  3. The problem for Lib Dems is that we have to do it ourselves and appear greedy for power, mean, punching below the belt, etc. Labour and Torries use friendly journalists, bloggers, and an army of their activists on social media.
    But we do have a problem with with stubborn, at times ostentatious, decency and some voters do not appreciate it. We appear reluctant to compromise our lofty principles for votes and that makes us less suited to govern in their opinion. In my ward we have 62 party members, but secured 6 stakeboards in the last election. Not wanting to “parade my politics”, “be offensive to my neighbours who are Labour”, “have my children experience problems in the school playground”, “draw attention to ourselves”, or “take part in campaigning methods I do not agree with” are some of the replies I got.

  4. I think you’re being a little harsh on Nick this time Mark.

    We all ‘hear things’ everyday about many things but that is not the same as having evidence.

    Put yourself in the position of Nick, former deputy PM, senior MP and all round decent guy. Are you really saying Nick should have spent what limited time we all had during a ‘snap’ election to go ‘digging’ for substantive evidence. It looks like it took Guido quite some time and that’s what he does!

  5. Just because the allegations are awful doesn’t mean Nick could have known they were correct, or could find time to swerve from the main campaign to investigate them, risking his own messages on policy. As the all-round decent guy he is, he may have thought the Labour Party must have checked their candidate out, or even that voters would see through him.

  6. Surely Jared O’Mara should resign and trigger another election.
    He should acknowledge that he was elected on a false premise.

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