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Ofunne Kate Osamor[2] (/ˈsæmɔːr/;[3] born 15 August 1968)[4] is a British Labour Co-operative politician who has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Edmonton since 2015.[5]


Kate Osamor

Official portrait of Kate Osamor crop 2.jpg
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
In office
27 June 2016 – 1 December 2018
DeputyRoberta Blackman-Woods
Dan Carden
Preet Gill
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
ShadowingJustine Greening
Priti Patel
Penny Mordaunt
Preceded byDiane Abbott
Succeeded byDan Carden
Member of Parliament
for Edmonton
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byAndy Love
Majority21,115 (48.4%)
Personal details
Born
Ofunne Kate Osamor

(1968-08-15) 15 August 1968 (age 51)[1]
North London, England
Political partyLabour Co-operative
Domestic partnerKim Udi (separated)
ChildrenIshmael Osamor
ParentsMartha Osamor, Baroness Osamor (mother)
ResidenceNorth London
Alma materUniversity of East London
WebsiteOfficial website

She is the daughter of Labour Peer Baroness Osamor. In June 2016, she was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for International Development by Jeremy Corbyn. In December 2018, Osamor resigned from the Shadow Cabinet following events surrounding her son's drugs conviction.[6]

Contents

Early life and careerEdit

Osamor was born to Nigerian parents in 1968 and grew up in Haringey, north London.[7] One of four children, and whose father died when she was a child, she recalls her mother Martha Osamor, Baroness Osamor (née Oburotha),[8] working "three, sometimes four jobs" to make ends meet.[9] Martha Osamor was a political activist and a member of the Labour Party Black Sections in the 1980s.[10][11] She became a councillor and deputy Leader of Haringey Council; in 1989 she was nominated by some branches within the Vauxhall Constituency Labour Party in the selection for a candidate at the by-election, but was not shortlisted by the Labour Party National Executive Committee.[12] She was appointed to the House of Lords on the recommendation of Jeremy Corbyn in 2018.[13]

Kate Osamor was educated at Fortismere School in Muswell Hill, Haringey, between 1979 and 1983. In 1989, she had a son, Ishmael Osamor, born Ishmael Ngozi Udi, with Kim Udi, a painter and decorator from New Cross. Between 2003 and 2006, after completing an access course at Hackney College, she read Third World Studies at the University of East London where she was diagnosed with dyslexia, to which she attributed her having struggled at school.[14][15] After graduating, she worked for The Big Issue, a magazine sold by homeless people [14] but has worked principally in the NHS, as an executive assistant for nine years in a GP out of hours service and then for two years as a GP practice manager. She was also active in the Unite trade union.[11]

Political careerEdit

In 2014, Osamor was elected a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party.[14][16]

In the 2015 General Election, Osamor stood as the Labour Party candidate for Edmonton on the retirement of its former MP Andy Love.[17] Osamor obtained 25,388 votes, increasing Labour's majority from 9,613 to 15,419.[18] Osamor was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[19] She was appointed as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to Corbyn in September 2015.[20]

On 14 January 2016, Osamor was appointed by Corbyn to the Opposition frontbench as Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities.[21] On 27 June 2016, after the resignations of numerous members of Labour's ministerial team due to disquiet over Corbyn's leadership, Osamor was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.[22] Osamor advocated an increase in aid funding for women's groups, and argued that international aid should be targeted towards schemes which aimed to reduce inequality as well schemes aimed at poverty reduction.[23][24]

Osamor has served as the chair for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Nigeria since 2015.[25]

Plagiarism claimsEdit

Osamor was re-elected as MP for Edmonton in the 2017 General Election. She was subsequently accused of plagiarising large sections of her victory address from Barack Obama's 2008 victory address in his home town of Chicago. According to Osamor's explanation she "deliberately invoked a victory speech so famous that she thought it needed no introduction”.[26]

Osamor's maiden speech to the House of Commons on 2 June 2015 was also reported to have been plagiarised. Her speech included parts that were almost identical to the maiden speech given by her predecessor Andy Love which was delivered on 4 June 1997, as well as the Enfield Society summer 2011 newsletter and the Wikipedia article for Edmonton.[27]

Employment of convicted sonEdit

In October 2018, it emerged that Osamor continued to employ her son, Ishmael Osamor, as a senior communications officer in her Parliamentary office despite his convictions for three counts of possession of class A controlled drugs with intent to supply and one of possession. He had been arrested for this offence over a year previously after being caught with £2,500 worth of the illegal drugs (cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and cannabis), at the Bestival music festival in August 2017. After disclosure of his conviction, he resigned his cabinet seat and, after pressure from the opposition, his seat as a councillor for Haringey Council.[28] On 1 November 2018, Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan referred Osamor to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards stating her "failure to uphold" the MPs code of conduct, with regards to her son's continued employment.[29] Osamor denied any wrongdoing and called the referral "politically motivated".[29]

The Labour Party claimed that Osamor, who lives and works with her son, knew nothing about his case until his sentencing on 26 October, but it later emerged that she had known about it earlier and had written to the trial judge asking for leniency before his sentencing on 19 October. In response, Conservative MP Priti Patel stated: "Serious questions must be asked about whether she has misled the public in her account so far of what she knew and when she knew it."[30] Patel also called for an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, both regarding allegedly misleading the public and the continued employment of Osamor's son.

Upon being questioned on her doorstep by The Times reporter Will Humphries about whether she had misled the public over the extent of her knowledge of her son's court case, Osamor threw a bucket of water at Humphries and shouted "Fuck off!" and "I should have come down here with a bat and smashed your face in."[31] She then called the police emergency service to report him for stalking her, calling the police emergency service again the following night in relation to the presence of another reporter.[32][33][34][35] Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said: “Journalists, like any other workers, need to be able to go about their work without fear of threats or assault. It’s completely unacceptable to respond to legitimate press queries, however unwelcome they may be, with physical or verbal abuse."[36]

On 1 December 2018, Osamor resigned from the Shadow Cabinet, stating she needed "to concentrate on supporting my family through the difficult time we have been experiencing".[37] Ten days later, she tweeted that she was "deeply sorry for (her) emotional outbursts and ... working to better manage (her) feelings".[38]

In January 2019, she faced further criticism when it was revealed that she used official parliamentary stationery and referenced her shadow cabinet position in writing to the judge to appeal for clemency in the sentencing of her son.[39]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Kate Osamor". Politics.co.uk. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  2. ^ Carr, Tim (18 May 2015). "The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2015: Profiles of the New MPs and Analysis of the 2015 General Election Results". Biteback Publishing – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Osamor, Kate (2016). Kate Osamor MP - EU Referendum #Remain. YouTube. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
    Osamor, Kate (2017). Alumna Kate Osamor MP talks about how UEL shaped her life. YouTube. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Kate Osamor". politics.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Edmonton parliamentary constituency – Election 2017". BBC News. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  6. ^ "Kate Osamor resigns as Shadow Minister". BBC News. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  7. ^ Carr, Tim; Dale, Iain; Waller, Robert, eds. (18 May 2015). The Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons 2015. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 9781849549240.
  8. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  9. ^ Segalov, Michael (23 January 2016). "Labour MP Kate Osamor On Women, Race And Politics". Refinery29. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  10. ^ Segalov, Michael (23 January 2016). "Labour MP Kate Osamor On Women, Race And Politics". Refinery29. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  11. ^ a b Cowburn, Ashley (12 March 2015). "'Who is this black woman?': Kate Osamor on her path to parliament". New Statesman. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  12. ^ Heffernan, Richard; Marqusee, Mike. Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Inside Kinnock's Labour Party. Verso. pp. 265–268. ISBN 0860915611.
  13. ^ "Labour defends peerage for campaigner linked to antisemitism row". Guardian. Press Association. 19 May 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  14. ^ a b c "About – Kate Osamor". Kate Osamor. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Kate Osamor MP: my pride at being a UEL graduate". UEL. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Kate Osamor". Labour.
  17. ^ Peat, Charlie (23 February 2015). "Edmonton Labour candidate Kate Osamor – "It's a huge honour to be selected"". Enfield Independent. Newsquest. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  18. ^ Randle, Adeola (9 October 2015). "Nigerian Kate Osamor (MP) Appointed Parliamentary Secretary For Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (MP)". The Reflector.
  19. ^ "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  20. ^ "About Me - Kate Osamor MP". Kate Osamor. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  21. ^ Casalicchio, Emilio (14 January 2016). "New Labour appointments as Corbyn reshuffle enters eleventh day". PoliticsHome. Dod's Parliamentary Communications. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  22. ^ Asthana, Anushka; Elgot, Jessica; Stewart, Heather (27 June 2016). "Jeremy Corbyn preparing for leadership contest". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  23. ^ McVeigh, Karen. "Labour pledges to put women at heart of British aid efforts". Guardian. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  24. ^ Osamor, Kate. "A World for the Many Not the Few" (PDF). Labour Policy Forum. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  25. ^ "Register of All Party Parliamentary Groups: Nigeria". Parliament UK. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  26. ^ Lizzy Buchan Political Correspondent. "Labour frontbencher ridiculed for copying Barack Obama's acceptance speech". The Independent. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Kate Osamor Plagiarised Maiden Speech from Wikipedia, Local Newsletter and Her Predecessor". Guido Fawkes. 22 May 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  28. ^ Devlin, Kate (31 October 2018). "Labour MP Kate Osamor still employs her drug dealer son Ishmael". The Times. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  29. ^ a b "Kate Osamor referred to watchdog over son's drug conviction". BBC News. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  30. ^ O'Neil, Sean; Devlin, Kate; Humphries, Will. "Kate Osamor: Top Labour MP 'misled public' over son's drugs arrest". The Times. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  31. ^ "Will Humphries on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  32. ^ Humphries, Will ; Devlin, Kate; O'Neill, Sean (1 December 2018). "Kate Osamor: Top Labour MP 'misled public' over son's drugs arrest" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  33. ^ Booth, James (1 December 2018). "Shadow Labour minister allegedly threatens journalist with bat". The Times.
  34. ^ "Labour's Kate Osamor accused of 'misleading public' over son's conviction for drug offences". PoliticsHome.com. 1 December 2018.
  35. ^ O’Neill, Sean; Webber, Esther; Shukman, Harry (4 December 2018). "Labour MP Kate Osamor dialled 999 after questions over drugs case" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  36. ^ Badshah, Nadeem (1 December 2018). "Kate Osamor: Labour MP resigns amid row over son's drug conviction". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  37. ^ McShane, Asher; Rose, Eleanor (1 December 2018). "Labour frontbencher Kate Osamor resigns amid storm over son's drug conviction". Evening Standard.
  38. ^ Mairs, Nicholas (11 December 2018). "Labour's Kate Osamor 'sorry for emotional outbursts' which led to frontbench resignation". PoliticsHome.
  39. ^ Proctor, Kate (22 January 2019). "Kate Osamor facing fresh controversy as secrecy rules mean Commons will not say if Labour MP is being probed". Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 April 2019.

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