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Labour mayor loses whip after saying Boris Johnson ‘completely deserves’ intensive care coronavirus fight

Labour mayor loses whip after saying Boris Johnson ‘completely deserves’ intensive care coronavirus fight

Amber Valley Labour Group has distanced itself from Councillor Oakes’ remarks.

2 min read

A Labour mayor has had the party whip withdrawn after she said Boris Jonson “completely deserves” to be in intensive care with coronavirus.

Councillor Sheila Oakes, the mayor of Heanor in Derbyshire, made the comments on social media as the Prime Minister was admitted to intensive care.

She wrote on Facebook: “Sorry he completely deserves this and he is one of the worst PM’s we’ve ever had.”

Mr Johnson was admitted to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital on Monday night with worsening coronavirus symptoms, 11 days days after his initial diagnosis.

Councillor Oakes later apologised “unreservedly” for the comments, telling the BBC: "I didn't think what I said would upset so many people. 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."

But a spokesperson for the Amber Valley Labour Group confirmed that Councillor Oakes had now had the party whip withdrawn in the wake of the post.

They said in a statement: “Following comments from Cllr Oakes on social media, which we utterly condemn, the Amber Valley Labour group withdrew the whip this morning, and can now announce this now the whip has spoken to Cllr Oakes.

“This means that Cllr Oakes does not currently sit as a Labour councillor and further due process will follow.

“We wish the Prime Minister, and all who are suffering with 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.”

The mayor’s comments also drew condemnation from the council’s Conservative group.

Councillor Kevin Buttery, Tory group leader on Amber Valley Borough Council, said: “This is an extremely worrying time for Boris Johnson, his family, friends and in fact the nation.

“To say I find the comments of councillor Sheila Oakes distasteful and abhorrent is an understatement.

“As the local mayor, she should be acting in a non-political way as she represents the town, this is clearly not the case in these circumstances.”

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