A hard-right Ukip leadership candidate has been blasted by senior party members after blaming the Finsbury Park attack on Muslims.
Anne Marie Waters, who was a senior member of far-right anti-Islam organisation Pegida UK, alongside Tommy Robinson, announced she would stand to succeed former leader Paul Nuttall shortly after his election drubbing.
She was picked to be the Ukip candidate in Lewisham East in the election, but was deselected after Nuttall described her views as “way above and beyond party policy.”
Today, she tweeted and retweeted a string of inflammatory statements in response to the Finsbury Park attack.
In one tweet, she appeared to blame Islam for the attack, which appeared to target Muslims.
She wrote: “It’s called ‘war’, and if not for Islam, none of it would be happening.”
She later added: “Islam has waged war on unbelievers for 1,400 years. It’s not the only cause of war, but it’s the cause of this one.”
Ukip MEP Bill Etheridge said her comments were “stupid and divisive”.
He added that if he were leader: “I would recommend her and her vociferous supporters’ removal from the party.”
Last night, a man driving a rental van mounted the pavement near the Finsbury Park Mosque, knocking down and killing pedestrians.
He was pinned down on the pavement until police arrived by local Muslims, who had been praying nearby shortly before the attack took place.
At least 10 people were injured in the attack, and one man – who may have had a heart attack prior to the attack – died at the scene.
Waters has previously faced criticism for praising far-right leaders including Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen.