Law firm sacks Labour councillor who said PM ‘deserves’ Covid-19

Ms Oakes said she 'made a mistake'

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Labour councillor who said Boris Johnson “completely deserves” to be ill with coronavirus has lost her job at a law firm over the “deeply offensive” comment.

Sheila Oakes, who is mayor of Heanor in Derbyshire and sits on Amber Valley District Council posted the comment on Monday night when the Prime Minister was in hospital.

In response to a call for people to say a prayer for Mr Johnson, she wrote on Facebook: “Sorry, he completely deserves this and he is one of the worst PMs we’ve ever had.”

She later apologised for the remarks, saying “I made a mistake”, but was subsequently put under “full investigation” by the Amber Valley Labour group and had the party whip withdrawn.

And the comment has now cost her her job at solicitors VHS Fletchers, where she had been working as a paralegal.

The law firm said it had taken “swift and decisive action” after becoming “embroiled” in the row.

In a statement, Ms Oakes’ former employer said she no longer worked for the firm “in any capacity” but said it had “no knowledge of her intentions” with regards to her political career.

It said Ms Oakes’ remarks were “deeply offensive”, and though they were made in a personal capacity, her connection to the firm meant it had become involved in the “understandable and legitimate criticism” of what she had said.

The statement added Ms Oakes’ stated views were “not shared by the partners or any other members of staff” and that the firm “will never condone such sentiments”.

“To wish illness upon anyone must be abhorrent to all right thinking members of the public,”  the firm said.

It also urged people to “show restraint” before making online posts, saying it was “acutely aware of the distress that such posts can cause”.

Read more

Labour councillor: Boris Johnson ‘deserves’ coronavirus

Mike Graham rips up Guardian over Boris Johnson claim

talkRADIO: Listen live for the latest updates on Covid-19