Katie Hopkins: Photo of drowned Aylan was 'staged'

Katie Hopkins has claimed that a photo of a 3-year-old refugee's body was 'staged' Credit: ITV News

Television commentator Katie Hopkins has courted controversy at the party's conference in Doncaster by claiming the recent photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach was "staged".

The outspoken personality was talking to ITV Calendar's Political Correspondent, Paul Brand, as she attended Ukip's party conference.

Asked whether he agreed that the photo was "staged", leader Nigel Farage said: "I doubt it, but I don't know."

Paul Brand: Even Farage upstaged by Hopkins

Deputy leader Paul Nuttall distanced Ukip from the comments, Brand reports.

The body of Alyan Kurdi - dressed in a red T-shirt and shorts - was washed up on a Turkish beach as his family tried to escape the war-torn country of Syria.

The image served as a stark reminder of the scale of the crisis and only increased pressure on European leaders to offer a solution.

Signatures to a "No more drownings - immediate sanctuary for those fleeing from war" petition jumped, with the outpouring of empathy eventually prompting David Cameron to take in thousands more refugee.

People also used the hashtag #kiyiyavuraninsanlik - meaning "humanity washed ashore" - to share the shocking image.

Aylan's father cries as he leaves a morgue after identifying his family's bodies. Credit: Reuters

Hopkins has been outspoken about the refugee crisis, and a Change.org petition was launched calling for her her to be swapped for 50,000 Syrian refugees was signed by more than 50,000 people.

Writing in her column in the Sun, the controversial Hopkins said: "I don’t care. Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad."

"I still don’t care. Because in the next minute you’ll show me pictures of aggressive young men at Calais, spreading like norovirus on a cruise ship."