A former UKIP parliamentary candidate caused disgust and anger this morning with a tirade of abuse aimed at London transport officials, posted on social media soon after the first reports of the Sandilands tram derailment.
Paul Perrin was UKIP’s candidate in Hove and Portslade at the 2010 General Election and he has also stood for the party in local council elections in the city.
Today, though, Nigel Farage’s party was keen to disassociate themselves with Perrin, a spokesman expressing some distaste for the views expressed, saying, “He’s nothing to do with us, thank goodness.”
Perrin’s foul-mouthed tirade began with a tweet soon after the disaster, in which he said, “I am popping into Croydon, think I’ll find a drunk cabbie to drive me – safer than the tram…”
This tasteless and tactless intervention quickly drew a response on social media, with several people expressing their outrage at the ill-timed and disrespectful nature of Perrin’s remarks, which were made at a time when people were fighting for their lives near the tram tracks or in ambulances on the way to hospital.
But rather than apologise or withdraw his remarks, Perrin goaded the twitterati further.
Challenged over his remarks, Perrin suggested that he was merely “drawing attention to” safety issues on public transport.
Today’s tragic accident is the first such derailment in the 16 years since the tram network began operating across south London.
Nonetheless, this erstwhile right-wing politician was quick to pass judgement on the causes of the derailment, even before the official investigation team had managed to arrive at the scene, as he stated publicly: “… sure you dont [sic] mean Croydon Trams killed six people today – cunts?”
At the time of his posting that tweet, no deaths had been confirmed. It was six hours later when British Transport Police announced that five people had died in the derailment.
By mid-afternoon today, Perrin had done nothing to withdraw any of his tweets about the Sandilands derailment or apologise for his insensitivity and abusive language.
Nor had he done anything to endear himself with any very professional and sober black cab drivers on whom he says he will be relying upon for transport around the capital in the future.
Perrin describes himself as “Libertarian-esque” and that he posts “Tweets with teeth”.
It is unclear whether his Twitter activity this morning was as a result of being tired and emotional following the US Presidential election success overnight of Donald Trump, or whether he simply has no tact or any real concern for the feelings of others, with possibly thousands of Croydon residents anxious about the fate of their loved ones who may have been travelling to work by tram this morning.
Asked about Perrin, UKIP’s party spokesman, said, “His remarks are nothing to do with us.
“We’re well rid of him to be honest.”
For his part, Peter Whittle, the UKIP London Assembly Member, did post on Twitter: “Our thoughts are with everyone effected by the overturned Tram in Croydon.”
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