Labour picks disability campaigner Jared O’Mara to challenge Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam

Labour has selected Jared O’Mara to contest the Sheffield Hallam constituency against current MP Nick Clegg at the general election.

Mr O’Mara, described by Sheffield Hallam Labour as a disability campaigner, has previously stood as a candidate in council elections.

Jane Thomas, the constituency chair, said it was good that Labour had selected a young, local candidate for the seat.

“Jared has a strong record of campaigning for the rights of disabled people in Sheffield and will bring experience of community involvement that few candidates can offer,” she said.

“Hallam votes came close to electing a Labour MP in 2015. Once again we have a strong, Sheffield candidate who is committed to serving the people of Hallam.”

Mr O’Mara was most recently a candidate for Sheffield Council in the Ecclesfield West ward in 2016, coming sixth.

During that campaign he spoke about his experiences as a candidate with cerebral palsy.

“Having a disability can make us more passionate, resilient, empathetic and hard-working than non-disabled candidates by virtue of everything being harder for us in life,” he said.

“I feel that every disabled candidate, whatever the party, could be better supported by the powers that be and more should be done to get disabled people with a wide range of disabilities into public life.”

Mr Clegg, the former Liberal Democrat leader, held the seat in 2015 with a substantially reduced vote share of 40.0%.

The Labour candidate in 2015, Oliver Coppard, came second with 35.8%.

The Liberal Democrats have held the seat since 1997, and Mr Clegg since 2005.