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Labour frontbencher promoted son convicted of drugs offence

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Labour frontbencher promoted son convicted of drugs offence

Close: Shadow minister Kate Osamor with Jeremy Corbyn

Close: Shadow minister Kate Osamor with Jeremy Corbyn

Close: Shadow minister Kate Osamor with Jeremy Corbyn

A Labour frontbencher whose son was convicted of smuggling thousands of pounds of drugs into a music festival has handed him a promotion.

Shadow international development spokesman Kate Osamor now faces a potential Commons sleaze probe over her refusal to sack her son from his job in her Parliamentary office.

Ishmael Osamor, 29, pleaded guilty to having £2,500 of drugs with intent to supply at Bestival in Dorset last year.

But his mother has resisted pressure to remove him from his taxpayer-funded job in the House of Commons – and he has actually been promoted to become his mother’s chief-of-staff.

Labour last night refused to say whether he was handed the new role – which comes with a salary of up to £49,793 – before or after his arrest last September.

Miss Osamor, 50, was yesterday reported to Parliament’s standards watchdog over allegations she brought the Commons into ‘disrepute’ by ‘turning a blind eye’ to her son’s conviction.

But the Labour MP last night claimed criticism of her decision not to sack her son was racist.

In an open letter to the Parliamentary commissioner for standards, Tory MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan said Miss Osamor had ‘failed to uphold’ the code of conduct for MPs.

She wrote: ‘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.

‘By continuing to allow a man convicted of a serious drug related offence to work in Parliament, Miss Osamor is clearly damaging the reputation of this House.’

Miss Osamor responded to the letter on Twitter, writing: ‘I have done nothing wrong. This is politically motivated.’

Ishmael Osamor, 29, pleaded guilty to having £2,500 of drugs with intent to supply at Bestival in Dorset last year

Ishmael Osamor, 29, pleaded guilty to having £2,500 of drugs with intent to supply at Bestival in Dorset last year

Ishmael Osamor, 29, pleaded guilty to having £2,500 of drugs with intent to supply at Bestival in Dorset last year

In a further tweet, she added: ‘The appalling abuse I have endured has been racist and politically motivated!’

Miss Osamor also ‘liked’ a series of tweets suggesting she had been targeted because she is a black woman.

One said: ‘Shame on the racist media who are taking a hit at another outstanding black woman, because they think she’s an easy target.’

Commons records showed Osamor earned between £30,000 and £35,000 in 2016/17 working in his mother’s office as a ‘senior communications officer’.

But in May, when he was elected as a local councillor in Haringey, north London, Osamor wrote on his declaration of interests that his job title was ‘chief-of-staff’.

A Labour spokesman declined to comment on whether Osamor was promoted since he was arrested in September last year, when he was caught with a £2,500 haul of ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and cannabis. They said: ‘We don’t comment on staffing matters.’

A man who answered the telephone in Miss Osamor’s Commons office yesterday claimed that her son was unavailable.

Jeremy Corbyn flanked by Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Dawn Butler (left) and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Kate Osamor

Jeremy Corbyn flanked by Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Dawn Butler (left) and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Kate Osamor

Jeremy Corbyn flanked by Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Dawn Butler (left) and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development Kate Osamor

Osamor’s new salary has not been made public, but pay scales for Commons researchers show MPs are allowed to pay their most senior staff between £33,000 and £49,793. The MP’s son was given a two-year community order and told to pay £400 prosecution costs after he pleaded guilty to four drugs related charges at Bournemouth Crown Court last month.

After the Daily Mail revealed his conviction, Osamor last week resigned as a councillor, saying: ‘I sincerely regret, and apologise for, not informing my family and colleagues of the pending court case, and have stood down.’

Miss Osamor has yet to condemn publicly or apologise for her son’s involvement with drugs, simply saying he had ‘admitted what he did was wrong and apologised’.MPs voted in July to change rules so the Parliamentary commissioner for standards no longer names those under investigation until an inquiry is concluded.

A spokesman for the commissioner, Kathryn Stone, said she could neither confirm nor deny whether a complaint had been received about Miss Osamor or whether it would be looked into.

Commons Speaker John Bercow last week agreed to launch a separate inquiry into whether Osamor should have his pass to the Parliamentary estate revoked. Senior figures including Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, have called on Miss Osamor to sack her son.

Sir Alistair said last week: ‘He is clearly not the kind of person who should be working in Parliament.’

Labour shadow ministers yesterday voiced support for Miss Osamor. Karen Lee, shadow fire minister, tweeted: ‘You are a hard-working and principled MP … I’m proud to call you my friend.’

Why did court accept £2,500 festival drugs haul was not for sale? 

Ishmael Osamor pleaded guilty to four drugs charges after his barrister Mohsin Zaidi struck a deal with the Crown Prosecution Service at Bournemouth Crown Court

Ishmael Osamor pleaded guilty to four drugs charges after his barrister Mohsin Zaidi struck a deal with the Crown Prosecution Service at Bournemouth Crown Court

Ishmael Osamor pleaded guilty to four drugs charges after his barrister Mohsin Zaidi struck a deal with the Crown Prosecution Service at Bournemouth Crown Court

Ishmael Osamor was spared prison after his barrister persuaded prosecutors he was not planning to make a profit from his £2,500 haul of drugs.

Judge Stephen Climie, who has a history of sparing drug users from prison, said the 29-year-old was lucky to avoid a four-year prison term and sentenced him to 200 hours of unpaid work instead.

The judge’s decision was condemned last night by Mary Brett, chair of the anti-drugs group Cannabis Skunk Sense.

Mrs Brett said: ‘Police have become increasingly soft on drugs, especially cannabis, and judges aren’t making an example of users and dealers when they are brought to trial. In this case, Osamor has escaped with nothing more than a slap on the wrist which is quite amazing given the quantity of drugs he had on him. He shouldn’t have a job in the Commons. He should be in prison.’

Osamor pleaded guilty to four drugs charges after his barrister Mohsin Zaidi struck a deal with the Crown Prosecution Service at Bournemouth Crown Court.

The former Labour councillor had been caught with 30g of ecstasy – a class A drug blamed for a string of deaths at music festivals – as well 7.5g of cocaine, 5.7g of ketamine and a trace of cannabis at least year’s Bestival festival in Dorset.

Incredibly, he was let off prison as the drugs were for his personal use and for his friends. The court was not told how many friends were with him. 

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