Labour politician sacked for claiming Boris Johnson’s hospital stay was a ‘publicity stunt’

PUBLISHED: 12:42 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:42 22 April 2020

Prime minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA

Prime minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A Labour politician has been sacked and forced to apologise for ‘crass and offensive comments’ after Boris Johnson’s stay in intensive care.

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Julie Heselwood, a councillor and executive member at Leeds City Council, urged a Facebook post to tell people not to “fall for it” after Johnson was taken to hospital with coronavirus.

Responding to a post by a local radio presenter, she wrote: “It’s a publicity stunt - they we’re [sic] doing badly being criticised for their handling of this, next thing he’s in hospital in ICU-a publicity stunt fir [sic] sympathy and to change the narrative. Don’t fall for it”.

It prompted a backlash from those who did not agree with her stance, before she eventually removed the post.

One wrote: “With a comment like that, you’re not fit to be a councillor for any party!”


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Heselwood later wrote to the leader of the council to apologise for the remarks, writing: “I am deeply sorry for my crass and offensive comments about Boris Johnson’s hospital treatment.

“I was wrong, I should never have made that claim and I apologise unreservedly.

“I wish the prime minister a speedy recovery and my thoughts are with him and his family at what I know is a very difficult time for them.”

She remains a ward councillor but will no longer serve as the council’s deputy executive member for learning, skills and employment.

A spokesperson for the Labour Party on the council said: “Julie Heselwood fully accepts her post was wrong and has apologised unreservedly for it.”

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