A ‘missing’ MP has announced he will return to work immediately – 24 hours after a regional daily exposed his unexplained absence from his office.
As HTFP reported yesterday, The Yorkshire Post doorstepped Sheffield Hallam MP Jared O’Mara’s constituency office to question where he was – with the office manager being unable to say when he had last been there.
The day after the Post’s story appeared, Mr O’Mara told a national newspaper that he would returning to work “with immediate effect.”
As well as being absent from his constituency office, Mr O’Mara has not been attending Parliament on medical advice since December.
However Mr O’Mara told the Daily Mirror yesterday that he will now be resuming his duties, both in Parliament and his constituency in what he called a “phased return.”
The Guido Fawkes political blog, which is widely read at Westminster, credited the Post with getting the MP back to work in a tongue-in-cheek post headlined “Miraculous Recovery.”
It read: “Jared O’Mara has briefed the Mirror that he is feeling much better after his four months off and will be making a “phased return” to work.
“The timing of his miraculous recovery is surely just a coincidence and definitely, absolutely nothing to do with the Yorkshire Post turning on him yesterday.”
Post feature writer Chris Burn, who wrote the original story, told HTFP: “I was very pleased to hear Mr O’Mara intends to return to work both in his constituency office and at Parliament with immediate effect, the day after the Yorkshire Post story was published.
“Of course, his return to work 24 hours after the story was published may be a complete coincidence, but if the article did make a difference in ensuring the people of Sheffield Hallam have an MP who is turning up to work and representing them in Parliament, then we have done our job as a newspaper.”
Post editor James Mitchinson praised Chris’s work and called on him to sort out the “tree felling shame” in his Sheffield constituency – another issue on which the Post has been credited with getting results.
Environment secretary Michael Gove praised the newspaper’s “persistent and persuasive” campaigning on the issue when he ordered Sheffield Council to halt the programme last year.
Said James: “I am pleased that Jared O’Mara is able to return to work on behalf of his constituents in Sheffield Hallam. Were I him, I would make space in my diary very quickly to sort out the omnishambles that is the city’s tree-felling shame, and has seen the great steel city branded a ‘rotten borough’ by Private Eye. He has a responsibility to work with residents and the City Council in order to stop the saga getting any uglier, and restore Sheffield’s reputation as Britain’s premier outdoor city.
“We’ve called Mr O’Mara several times, visited his office and I’ve sent him a text message personally, inviting him to sit down with the Yorkshire Post to tell people how he is finding being an MP.
“We are all aware of certain types of people who revel in suggesting that being a Member of Parliament is a walk in the park, earning £74,000 plus expenses for doing very little, they’ll say. That scurrilous myth couldn’t be further from the truth: if you are going to do the job properly, it is stressful, complicated and demanding. I think people would think more of Mr O’Mara if he took time to open up about all of that.
“I wish him the best of luck in making a success of it, but reserve the right to apply due scrutiny on behalf of the electorate as and when we think it is appropriate.”