Mayor says sorry for ‘Prime Minister completely deserves this’ Covid-19 comment

A town mayor has apologised for saying that Boris Johnson “completely deserves this” after he was taken to hospital with Covid-19.

Sheila Oakes, who is mayor of Heanor in Derbyshire and a Labour district councillor, posted the comment on Facebook on Monday night.

Replying to a message calling for people to say a prayer for the Prime Minister, she wrote: “Sorry, he completely deserves this and he is one of the worst PMs we’ve ever had.”

Mr Johnson was taken to hospital on Monday as a precaution after his coronavirus symptoms worsened, though he is now described as stable.

The Labour leader of Amber Valley District Council, Chris Emmas-Williams, told the PA new agency the party had withdrawn the whip from Ms Oakes.

He added that complaints had been pouring into his email box “from Powys to Plymouth” following her remarks.

In a statement, he spoke of being “appalled and very disappointed” by his colleague’s behaviour, adding she had “apologised to me personally, on Facebook and BBC Radio Derby”.

Statement from the Amber Valley Labour GroupFollowing comments from Cllr Oakes on social media, which we utterly…

Posted by Belper and Duffield Labour Party on Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Mr Emmas-Williams said a full internal party investigation would get underway and could eventually take place by video conference, given the lockdown.

A separate district council standards inquiry may also follow for Ms Oakes, an Amber Valley councillor since 2014, if formal complaints are made to the local authority.

In a statement on Facebook, the Amber Valley Labour Group leader said: “As leader of the Council & Labour Group I am appalled and very disappointed by the comments posted on Facebook by Cllr Sheila Oakes.

“There is no place in politics for personal and hurtful comments no matter how angry you are.

“I asked Cllr Oakes to remove the comments and apologise immediately after it was brought to my attention.

“In no circumstances can I or the Labour Group condone this sort of behaviour, it is not in being with the standards expected in public life or office.

“A full investigation will take place and appropriate action will be taken in line with the Labour Party rules and regulations.

Mr Emmas-Williams later posted another update confirming “Cllr Oakes does not currently sit as a Labour Councillor”.

He added: “We wish the Prime Minister, and all who are suffering this awful disease, a speedy recovery and send love and solidarity to them and their families.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further until due process has taken its course.”

Ms Oakes told BBC Radio Derby: “I made a mistake”.

The PA news agency has contacted her for comment.

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