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While a Facebook post had asked people to say a “little prayer” for United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson after he was admitted to intensive care Monday night for his worsening COVID-19 condition, Sheila Oakes — mayor of Heanor in Derbyshire — had other ideas.
“Sorry, he completely deserves this, and he is one of the worst PMs we’ve ever had,” Oakes noted in a comment, BBC News reported.
What happened next?
As you might expect, more than a few folks were angry about Oakes’ comment — and the next day she said told the outlet she “apologized for upsetting people and saying it,” acknowledging she “made a mistake.”
“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.”
The whip comes down
But it was too little, too late.
For starters, the Amber Valley Labour Group said it had withdrawn the whip, meaning Oakes is no longer a Labour councillor, the outlet said.
Chris Emmas-Williams, leader of AVLG, added to BBC News there would be an investigation into Oakes’ conduct: “This behavior 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 apologize as well to Boris Johnson and his family, and we wish him well because we need everyone possible to fight this disease.”
What’s more, Oakes lost her paralegal job in the wake of her comment, BBC News reported in a separate story.
VHS Fletchers Solicitors told the outlet it became “embroiled in criticism” after Oakes’ words got around and that she’s “no longer employed by this firm in any capacity.”
The firm on its website decried her “deeply offensive” remarks and said her views are “not shared by the partners or any other members of staff,” and that “to wish illness upon anyone must be abhorrent to all right thinking members of the public,” BBC News reported.