In Brief

Mayor expelled from Labour for saying Boris Johnson ‘deserves’ Covid-19

Sheila Oakes has apologised following backlash over Facebook comments

The mayor of a Derbyshire town is facing an outcry after saying that Boris Johnson “completely deserves this” following his admission to intensive care with the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Councillor Sheila Oakes, the mayor of Heanor, made the comments below a Facebook post about the prime minister’s worsening health as he battles the infection.

A Facebook user had asked their followers to say a “little prayer” for Johnson on Monday night, to which Oakes responded: “Sorry, he completely deserves this and he is one of the worst PMs we’ve ever had.”

Johnson was admitted to St Thomas’ hospital in central London on Sunday with “persistent symptoms” of Covid-19, ten days after testing positive for the virus, and was moved to intensive care at 7pm on Monday.

A Downing Street spokesperson has said that the PM is being given oxygen but is not on a ventilator.

Following widespread anger over her comments, Oakes yesterday told the BBC that she was sorry “for upsetting people and saying it”.

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“I didn’t think what I said would upset so many people. It came across as not a nice thing to say,” she told the broadcaster.

“I’m concerned about nurses and doctors who don’t have protective equipment. I said something when I was angry without thinking about the prime minister or his family.”

Despite her apology, the Labour Party has withdrawn the party whip from Oakes, effectively expelling her.

The leader of the Amber Valley Labour group, Chris Emmas-Williams, told the BBC that there would be an investigation into Oakes’ conduct.

“This behaviour is totally unacceptable and not what the Labour party are about,” he said. “I’ve not made the comments, but I feel as leader of the Labour group I have to apologise as well to Boris Johnson and his family, and we wish him well because we need everyone possible to fight this disease.”

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