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Labour councillor expelled from party for Boris Johnson coronavirus comments

Miss Oakes made the comments on Facebook Credit: Amber Valley Borough Council

A Derbyshire mayor has been expelled from the Labour party after she suggested that Boris Johnson deserves to have coronavirus.

Heanor mayor Sheila Oakes's comments sparked controversy online.

Miss Oakes apologised "unreservedly", but the Labour Party has now withdrawn the party whip from her, effectively expelling her.

She will keep her seat until the next election, but she is now an independent politician.

The Prime Minister is currently in intensive care at St Thomas' Hospital in London after his coronavirus symptoms worsened yesterday.

Miss Oakes' comment was written under a post which showed a message of support for medical workers, and it is understood it also may have also made reference to Boris Johnson.

Mayor Oakes wrote:

“Sorry, he completely deserves this and he is one of the worst PMs we’ve ever had.”

– Mayor Oakes

When her comment was described as "a cruel thing to say" by another Facebook user, Miss Oakes replied:

"Johnson has done absolutely nothing for the UK - have you heard how the nurses and doctors have no PPE, that there were not enough ventilators, that the NHS is massively underfunded and yet it is having to deal with this virus."

– Mayor Oakes

A number of the responses from other Facebook users called for her resignation.

A spokesperson for the Amber Valley Labour Group said:

"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.

– Amber Valley Labour Group

Miss Oakes said:

“I would like to apologise if I upset anyone, it was not my intention.

“I didn’t mean that there should be serious consequences from the virus.

“I am concerned about the doctors and nurses who have not got protection equipment who are getting sick and dying themselves.

“This makes me angry about the lack of help for them. It was something said in anger.

“I have every sympathy for the Prime Minister’s family who are suffering considerably at this time.

“It must be very difficult for them, and I hope his partner and the baby are well.

“I hope that he makes a recovery and does not suffer any long-term ill effects.

“I do regret it, and I should not have said it.

“I apologise unreservedly for it. We all make mistakes, including Boris Johnson, and it will not happen again.”

– Mayor Oakes

Councillor Kevin Buttery, Conservative 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."

– Councillor Kevin Buttery

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know

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