Kate Osamor MP facing standards probe over her son's drugs arrest

Kate Osamor

Shadow International Development Secreatary Kate Osamor. Image: Getty

Monday, November 5, 2018

A Labour frontbencher and top Jeremy Corbyn ally has been reported to Parliament's standards watchdog over her son's drugs arrest.

Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor is under increasing pressure after her son Ishmael was convicted of possessing Class A drugs including cocaine and ketamine with intent to supply.

Mr Osamor, 29, works for his mother as a communications officer which gives him uncontrolled access to Parliament.

Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, calling for an investigation into Ms Osamor's "behaviour".

Ms Osamor said on Twitter that she has "done nothing wrong" and the report is "politically motivated". 


'Writing to request that you launch an investigation'

Part one of the letter.

In the letter, Ms Trevelyan wrote: "I am writing to request that you launch an investigation into the behaviour of Kate Osamor for breach of the Members' Code of Conduct.

"The Member for Edmonton, Kate Osamor, has failed to uphold this code by continuing to employ her son Ishmael Osamor in her Parliamentary office, despite his conviction for a serious drugs related offence.

"You do not need me to outline how serious drug offences are, and in this place we ought to treat them as such. For a Member of Parliament to maintain the employment of someone convicted of such a crime turns a blind eye to the damaging consequences of such behaviour and seriously brings the integrity of Parliament into disrepute.

Part two of the letter.

"Clause 17 of the Code of Conduct states: Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.

"By continuing to allow a man convicted of a serious drug related offence to work in Parliament, Ms. Osamor is clearly damaging the reputation and integrity of this house, and is not befitting of someone sitting on the Opposition frontbench."

Mr Osamor pleaded guilty last month to to three charges of possession with intent to supply and a further fourth charge of possession after admitting having ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and cannabis worth £2,500 at Dorset's Bestival music festival.

He was given a two-month community order and 20 days of rehabilitation. 

Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, has called on Ms Osamor to sack her son.


'Not the kind of person who should be working in Parliament'

Sir Alistair said: “He is clearly not the kind of person who should be working in Parliament. 

"These particular circumstances bring parliament into disrepute. I would have thought that the MP would move quickly to take her son off the payroll. Parliament is not a rehabilitation process, it is a use of taxpayers’ money and that cannot be forgotten. I would have thought that he might want to drop out of the job but the responsibility clearly lies with the MP.”

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, has suggested that he could confiscate Mr Osamor's parliamentary pass.

Priti Patel, the former development secretary, has called on Ms Osamor to resign from the shadow cabinet over the issue.


'She cannot continue in this role'

Ms Osamor with Jeremy Corbyn. Image: Getty

Ms Patel said: “What does this say about her standards and suitability for public office that she has turned a blind eye to this and still thinks he should work for her in parliament?

“She cannot continue in this role. The job of international development secretary involves working with international organisations and international crime agencies combating drugs, that is part of the bread and butter of the role.”

Mr Osamor was arrested in September 2017 but went on to be selected as a Labour council candidate in November that year - backed by the pro-Corbyn Momentum group.

Labour sources claim that Ms Osamor only learnt of her son's case from newspaper reports.

But a letter leaked to The Times last week showed Labour's General Secretary Jennie Formby is also facing demands to investigate what Ms Osamor knew about her son's arrest during the selection process.

The letter from a member of Labour's London regional board asks at what point Ms Osamor was informed of her son’s arrest and whether she told the party.

Ms Formby is also asked to investigate if Ms Osamor had any contact with the members of her son’s selection panel, after her “unusual” decision to nominate him for election as a councillor.

The letter also asks: “Please could you confirm that no member of the NEC with a personal connection to Mr Osamor will be eligible to consider this matter, and that Ms Osamor will recuse herself from any discussion relating to her son?

Mr Osamor resigned as a councillor in Haringey last week. In a statement, he said: "It is with great regret that I am offering this as formal notice of my resignation as councillor, effective immediately.

"I trust you will understand the reason for my decision.

"I would like to take the opportunity to apologise to the council, as I have to my ward colleagues and residents, for the unwelcome attention my case has brought to Haringey."

Ms Osamor has consistently declined to comment on the case.