Mayor apologises for saying Boris Johnson 'deserves' coronavirus

Sheila Oakes, the mayor of Heanor, later apologised for the comments. (PA and Amber Valley Borough Council)
Sheila Oakes, the mayor of Heanor, later apologised for the comments. (PA and Amber Valley Borough Council)

The mayor of a town in Derbyshire has been forced to apologise for saying Boris Johnson “completely deserves this” after he was admitted to intensive care with coronavirus.

Sheila Oakes, the mayor of Heanor, made the inflammatory comments in response to a Facebook post asking people to “say a little prayer" for the prime minister on Monday evening.

Oakes commented underneath the social media post: "Sorry, he completely deserves this and he is one of the worst PMs we've ever had."

She has since apologised and accepted she "made a mistake" with the outburst.

British police officers stand on duty outside St Thomas' Hospital in central London, where Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care on April 7, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent the night in intensive care after being admitted with a deteriorating case of coronavirus, prompting serious concerns on Tuesday about his health and the government's response to a still-escalating outbreak. Johnson asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputise for him shortly before he was moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital on Monday evening. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers stand on duty outside St Thomas' Hospital where Boris Johnson is in intensive care. (Getty)
File photo dated 23/03/2020 of a screen grab of Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation from 10 Downing Street, London. The Prime Minister has said he has tested positive for coronavirus.
The prime minister was said to be in "stable" condition on Tuesday morning. (PA)

"I didn't think what I said would upset so many people,” Oakes told BBC News, “It came across as not a nice thing to say.

"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."

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

6 charts and maps that explain how coronavirus is spreading

The Amber Valley Labour Group said it had withdrawn the whip over Oakes’ comments, meaning she is no longer a party councillor.

Chris Emmas-Williams, the leader of Amber Valley Labour group, confirmed there would be an investigation into Oakes' conduct.

He said: "This behaviour is totally unacceptable and not what the Labour Party are about.

"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."

Number 10 announced on Tuesday morning that Mr Johnson is “stable” after spending the night in intensive care following a worsening of his symptoms.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said he had been receiving “standard oxygen treatment” but had not required any other assistance in breathing.

A man wearing a facemask at a bus stop reading a newspaper outside St Thomas' Hospital in Central London where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in intensive care as his coronavirus symptoms persist.
A man reads a newspaper outside St Thomas' Hospital, where the PM is being treated. (PA)

Johnson was originally admitted to St Thomas’ on Sunday on the advice of his doctor after continuing to display symptoms of cough and high temperature 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

His spokesman said at the move was a “precautionary step” in case he needed to be put on a ventilator.

“The prime minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits,” the spokesman said.

“He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance.

“He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.”

Coronavirus: what happened today?

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter