Corbyn Ally Quits In Row Over Son's Drug Conviction In Dorset

2 December 2018, 09:19

Kate Osamor

Shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor has quit the Labour front bench following a row about her son's conviction for possessing drugs at Bestival.

The MP was reportedly involved in an altercation with a journalist from The Times after he approached at her north London home for a comment about the case.

According to the paper, the 50-year-old told the reporter she "should have come down here with a bat and smashed your face in".

She was then said to have told him to "**** off", thrown a bucket of water over him and then called the police after accusing him of stalking her.

In a statement posted on her Twitter feed, Ms Osamor said she was standing down to "concentrate on supporting my family through the difficult time we have been experiencing".

She added: "I remain fully committed to our programme for creating a society that works for the many, not the privileged few, and will continue to campaign for this from the backbenches."

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn confirmed he had accepted her resignation and thanked her for her work on the international development portfolio.

"I know Kate will take this time to support her family, work for her constituents and support our party's efforts to rebuild Britain from the backbenches," he said.

The Times said the journalist concerned had been seeking to ask her about previous comments made in relation to the conviction of her son, Ishmael Osamor.

Mr Osamor pleaded guilty at Bournemouth Crown Court to four counts of possession with intent to supply cocaine, MDMA, ketamine and cannabis.

On October 19 he was sentenced to a two-year community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and up to 20 rehabilitation activity days and ordered to pay £400 prosecution costs.

According to The Times, the prosecution in the case accepted Mr Osamor, who had been attending the Bestival music festival in Dorset, was looking after the drugs for friends and was not selling them.

Following his conviction, he stood down as a Labour councillor in the London borough of Haringey.

However Ms Osamor has faced questions as to why she continues to employ him in her parliamentary office in the House of Commons.

According to the Register of Interests of Members' Secretaries and Research Assistants, he is listed as one of five staff members working for her at Westminster.

Ms Osamor was first elected as MP for Edmonton in the 2015 general election and was one of 36 Labour members to nominate Mr Corbyn in the leadership contest following Ed Miliband's resignation.

In January 2016 she was made shadow women and equalities minister and the following June was promoted to shadow international development secretary after dozens of frontbenchers resigned in protest at Mr Corbyn's leadership.

Earlier in the day, before her altercation with The Times reporter, she tweeted she had been out speaking to residents in her constituency about "recent violent incidents".

In his statement, Mr Corbyn paid tribute to her work covering the international development brief.

"She brought a new dimension to the role by committing Labour to tackling global inequality as well as poverty as part of building a world for the many not the few," he said.

Labour said shadow international development minister Dan Carden would be acting shadow secretary of state on a temporary basis.