The Shadow Health Secretary spoke to Sky News on Monday expressing shock at the explosion which took place outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital just before 11am on Sunday. But in a bizarre moment, he offered condolences to the dead attacker’s family despite the event being labelled a terrorist attack by police.
Mr Ashworth said: “Obviously we pay our respects and send our condoles to the family of the man who lost his life.
“And I would obviously like to thank our emergency services for the way they responded.”
The attacker died in the explosion while hero taxi driver David Perry escaped with injuries after noticing a “flashing light” on his passenger.
He was taken to hospital but has since been released.
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But Mr Ashworth’s comments have sparked fury online with users questioning the Labour MP’s choice of words.
Commentator Darren Grimes slammed: “Labour frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth has sent his ‘condolences’ to the family of the bloke who detonated a bomb outside a maternity hospital. You couldn’t make this up.”
While political commentator Patrick O’Flynn hammered: “One hopes that Jonathan Ashworth was speaking before it was known to be a terrorist incident here.”
Following the backlash, Mr Ashworth later apologised, tweeting: “This is obviously embarrassing I misread the news ticker in an interview and thought a member of the public had now died. My deepest apologies for this mistake.”
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“As the taxi approached the drop-off point at the hospital, an explosion occurred from within the car. This quickly engulfed it in flames. Remarkably, the taxi driver escaped from the cab.”
Russ Jackson, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North West explained that the explosive device had been brought into the vehicle by the passenger.
Following the hero taxi driver’s release from hospital, proud wife Rachel Perry took to Facebook saying it was an “utter miracle” Mr Perry managed to escape alive.
She said: “The explosion happened whilst he was in the car and how he managed to escape is an utter miracle. He certainly had some guardian angels looking after him.”