Rail union chief suspended for saying he would ‘throw a party’ if Boris Johnson died from coronavirus
The RMT's assistant general secretary Steve Hedley has been suspended (PA)
A senior union official has been suspended after saying he would be “throwing a party” if Boris Johnson died from coronavirus.
Steve Hedley, assistant general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), made the remark on Facebook.
Replying to another user of the site, he said: "I don't want to offend you, but if Bojo pops his clogs, I'm throwing a party.”
Mr Hedley later added: "I hope the whole Cabinet and higher echelons of the Tory party have been touching various bits of him."
Following a backlash, the left-winger said on Wednesday that he "stood by every word".
In a joint statement, RMT president Michelle Rodgers and general secretary Mick Cash said: "Steve Hedley's comments do not represent the views of this trade union and are wholly unacceptable.”
On Friday, a spokesman for the RMT said: "Following a meeting of the union's National Executive a decision has been made to suspend senior assistant general secretary Steve Hedley with immediate effect while a formal investigation takes place into his conduct."
The Prime Minister was admitted to St. Thomas's Hospital on Sunday night after his Covid-19 symptoms worsened.
He was taken into intensive care on Monday, but moved back to a general ward on Thursday night after his condition improved.
In a statement on Friday, a Number 10 spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister has been able to do short walks, between periods of rest, as part of the care he is receiving to aid his recovery.
"He has spoken to his doctors and thanks the whole clinical team for the incredible care he has received. His thoughts are with those affected by this terrible disease."
Earlier this week a Labour mayor had the whip withdrawn after she said Mr Johnson “completely deserves” to be in intensive care with coronavirus.
Councillor Sheila Oakes, the mayor of Heanor in Derbyshire, later apologised “unreservedly” for the comments, telling the BBC: "I said something when I was angry without thinking about the Prime Minister or his family.”
A spokesperson for the Amber Valley Labour Group said they “utterly condemn” the comments and confirmed Cllr Oakes could no longer represent the party in the wake of the post.