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Bramley councillor leaves deputy-exec role following apology over Boris Johnson ‘publicity stunt’ comments

Leeds City Council has confirmed Bramley and Stanningley councillor Julie Heselwood is no longer a deputy member of the decision-making executive board, writes democracy reporter Richard Beecham.

It follows an apology from Coun Heselwood after she made a now-deleted Facebook post suggesting Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s admission to hospital for COVID-19 symptoms was a ‘publicity-stunt’.

Coun Heselwood had served as the council’s deputy executive member for learning, skills and employment, meaning she provided support for the main portfolio holder for that department.

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However, a notice published this week by Leeds City Council shows the council leader had updated the list of the authority’s support executive members, with Coun Heselwood’s name no longer included.

The council leader’s office confirmed this afternoon Coun Heselwood was no longer a deputy executive member.

Coun Heselwood has been approached for a comment.

The Labour Party had confirmed last week that Coun Heselwood had deleted and apologised for the original Facebook post.

She added in a statement at the time:

“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.”

Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital on Monday April 6, having spent a number of days self-isolating with COVID-19 symptoms. He has since been discharged from hospital.


  1. Should not Councillor Heselwood have been removed from office by the Leeds City Council. As a resident of Bramley, I am ashamed and concerned that this person is making decisions on my behalf when she can make the kind of comments about Mr. Johnson or any other person for that matter. I will be writing to the Council Leader, ms. Blake asking why ms. Heselwood has not been removed from office.

  2. I notice that the Labour Party in Leeds seems not to be taking any further action against this councillor unlike the Labour Party in Heanor, Derbyshire who have removed the whip (meaning she is no longer a member of the Labour Party) from their mayor, Councillor Sheila Oakes. and all she posted was “Sorry he completely deserves this and he is one of the worst PM’s we’ve ever had.” which is, in my opinion, nothing like as bad as Julie Heselwood posted.

    Perhaps the Leeds Labour Party should look again at this matter and do the right thing and remove the whip from her. Perhaps even force her to resign and get another councillor elected (of course it would be another Labour councillor being Stanningley) who is not so crass and derogatory of other politicians who are going through a possible life threatening disease.


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