Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins have been accused of “grossly irresponsible” scare-mongering over their reactions to a car striking pedestrians outside the Natural History Museum.
Despite police insisting the incident - which injured 11 people - was a road traffic collision, former UKIP leader Farage told Fox News that officers were “clearly” treating it as a terrorist incident.
“Certainly while we have heard nothing official, the Metropolitan Police are clearly not only treating this as a terrorist incident, but it looks to me like they expect there could be more,” he said.
In a tweet sharing the audio clip, the 53-year-old added: “We have 3,000 suspected terrorists living in the UK & 23,000 people known to security services who could do us harm.”
Farage’s comments sparked widespread anger, with critics calling him “grossly irresponsible” and a “shameless attention-seeker”:
Not being treated as a terrorist incident, but that doesn't stop Farage from telling Fox that it is. https://t.co/2tiXB5pSNZ— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) October 7, 2017
Am quite sure that Nigel is about to tweet a clarification and apology for being a shameless attention-seeker. Yep. Any minute now— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) October 7, 2017
Grossly irresponsible again. Police are not treating this as a terrorist incident but that doesn't stop Farage and Fox using it to fan hatehttps://t.co/rzsAG9lEeK— Election Data (@election_data) October 7, 2017
We had 140,086 road traffic casualty accidents in the UK in 2015 https://t.co/IweVx9GWHu— Danny Kemp (@dannyctkemp) October 7, 2017
However, while Farage - described by Fox News as “Brexit leader” - acknowledged in a later tweet that the incident in South Kensington was a traffic collision, he refused to back down completely.
He wrote: “Met say incident in South Ken is a traffic collision. But huge police response shows the state of high alert the country finds itself in.”
Met say incident in South Ken is a traffic collision. But huge police response shows the state of high alert the country finds itself in. pic.twitter.com/bLBRNQDGoa— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) October 7, 2017
Meanwhile, Hopkins tweeted a series of messages in the wake of the incident which appeared to suggest that it was a terror attack, telling tourists “right now, London is not worth the risk”.
She also accused the BBC of state propaganda after the news website described the incident as a “crash”.
However, the Mail Online columnist later deleted the tweets, telling followers “I hope you all stay safe”.
I am deleting all tweets from the last two hours. I hope you stay safe. Xx— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) October 7, 2017
But Hopkins’ backtracking did not stop people slamming her for her initial reaction, calling her opinions “toxic”.
I saved all the ones shrieking London was too dangerous for you & am told you ARE now legally bound to stay beyond its limits in perpetuity https://t.co/bbgpnQEbNB— Marina Hyde (@MarinaHyde) October 7, 2017
Well, I hope Katie Hopkins’ performance today has reminded schools why they shouldn’t invite her to speak.— Paul Bernal (@PaulbernalUK) October 7, 2017
Eleven people were injured after a car mounted the pavement and struck pedestrians outside London’s Natural History Museum this afternoon.
A huge police presence descended on the scene in Exhibition Road, South Kensington, which is also near the Science Museum and the V&A Museum.
London Ambulance Service said it treated 11 people “mostly for leg and head injuries”. Nine of them went to hospital.
However, after nearly four hours of speculation about the cause - and fears it was terrorism - police said this was not the case.
A man has been arrested in connection with the incident and is in custody at a north London police station, officers said.