Labour’s candidate for Sheffield Hallam Jared O’Mara slammed Nick Clegg’s connections to the city, saying he “doesn’t have Sheffield in his heart.”
“He came up here for the express purposes of the job, he has no affinity for Hallam, Sheffield or the North of England. I do think that whenever he leaves Parliament, he won’t stay in the area,” O’Mara said.
Recent polling by Lord Ashcroft, and YouGov have made the Labour man favourite over the former Deputy Prime Minister.
O’Mara, points to his connections to the city as one of the reasons why he would he feels voters should pick him next week.
“Sheffield is my city, I’ve lived in Hallam for a number of years, I studied at Tapton Secondary School and received a lot of help at the Reigate Centre with my disability. If they did have me as MP, they would have someone who really cares and has that pride in where they’re from, and a deep sense of empathy with the people who are from here.
“We don’t have that with Mr Clegg, I don’t think he has Sheffield in his heart and that passion for the city,” he said.
The Staffordshire University graduate told South Yorkshire Briefing he decided to run for Parliament as he didn’t want to be an “armchair expert.” He has previously run three times for Sheffield City Council.
“I believe in action; it speaks louder than words. Through my political activity, I’ve been a trustee of charities and a school governor. Some of the work that disability charities do is fantastic. I can’t just stand by when there’s so many injustices, like child and food poverty in the UK.”
However, he’s not getting carried away with favourable polling and doorstep reaction: “I am not taking any encouragement or fear from any of the polls.
“We saw in 2015 that they’re not a wholly accurate representation of things will pan out. I’ll carry on with my team, and army of volunteers until next week.”
A former music journalist, Jared is also the co-founder of popular Sheffield venue West Street Live, where has still been working during the campaign.
“There needs to be more disabled people in Parliament…”
O’Mara has cerebal palsy and has worked with charities for the disabled.
“It’s not always visible to the untrained eye. When I’m out on the campaign trail I will take a stick which can help as one of my legs is shorter than the other.
“I’m very passionate about the principle of a representative democracy, and there needs to be more disabled people in Parliament and local Government.”
He is particularly scathing of the Government’s approach to disabled people and the welfare state.
“We have seen people die after they’ve been declared fit for work when they’re not. One diabetic man in Salford was sanctioned and had no income coming in. He couldn’t afford to power his fridge to regulate his diet and ended up having his leg amputated.
“He won his appeal against the ruling and got the money backdated, but he can’t have his leg back can he?” O’Mara said.
“I was blown away by the manifesto…”
A committed Corbynista, he voted for the Labour leader in both leadership elections. It’s therefore no surprise that he’s a strong advocate of the party’s manifesto which was launched a fortnight ago.
“I was blown away by the manifesto. Renationalising energy might drive prices down which will make it more affordable for people.
“People want to see more investment in local schools and healthcare across the country. Everyone’s saying ‘NHS, NHS, NHS’ and they can see the strain it’s under. They can see our doctors and nurses are getting a raw deal.”
“Our offering for both has been excellently received by the public. We’re very hopeful.”