Nigel Farage has questioned the future of Notting Hill Carnival after this year’s edition was marred by hundreds of arrests and a spate of stabbings.
The GB News presenter questioned whether St George’s Day celebrations would be allowed to continue should similar events occur.
Known for its dancing and music, the festival was attended by thousands in west London, with the majority of people having a “fantastic time”, according to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.
Despite the festivities, 275 arrests were carried out across the two days of the carnival, with 165 arrests on Monday for a range of offences including possession of offensive weapons, assaults on police officers, possession of drugs and sexual offences.
WATCH NIGEL'S MONOLOGUE BELOW
Speaking on GB News, Farage expressed concern about the amount of violence on show.
“A couple of million attended the carnival, to put it into context”, he said.
“When there’s a large number of people, there’s always going to be a certain degree of difficulty.
“But, having said that, I’m afraid the figures are really pretty ugly. 308 arrests in total, including possession of offensive weapons, in one case, a firearm.
“Incredibly, 75 incidents of officers being attacked. Even sexual offences taking place, it is a litany. Eight people stabbed.
“Can you even imagine being a police officer and being asked to attend? Where you’re probably going to be at best, mocked, and at worst, seriously attacked.
The 'majority' of Notting Hill revellers enjoyed themselves, according to the Met Commissioner
“Let’s suppose someone organised a big St Georges’ Day parade, and there was terrible behaviour. Do you honestly think a second year of it would be allowed to take place?”
The former Brexit Party leader went on to question whether the festival should be allowed to continue.
He said: “Maybe holding this in the streets of Notting Hill, not just because of the violence, but also the fear of residents.
“Maybe we have reached a point where we say, Notting Hill Carnival simply can’t continue.
Heavy police presence was at the carnival
“You tell me, should it continue?”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the shows of violence were a “good illustration” of the need to act on knife crime.
Sunak said: “I’m grateful to the police for all their efforts to ensure the safety of the carnival and it’s a good illustration of why we need to take action.
“That’s why we consulted on these measures earlier in the year. That’s why we’ve spoken to the police to hear first-hand from them what do they need to keep reducing knife crime, and today’s powers will help them do that.
“That will build on the progress we’ve made. Knife crime is already down since pre-pandemic levels but every life lost to knife crime is a tragedy.”
Conservative candidate for 2024’s London mayoral election, Susan Hall, said the festival should be moved to an area where it can be better policed.
Sir Mark Rowley said the decision is not for him, adding: “We’re not the organisers of the carnival. It’s an amazing community event with over a million people attending and it’s got such a fantastic heritage.
“We will be reviewing what’s gone on with the organisers and looking at what more can be done to improve safety, and what more can be done to help keep away the small number of very dangerous people who turn up there.
“But you’ve got a million people there turning up and having a fantastic time.
“We’ve got to be careful how we refer to it. But I am worried about the weapons and the incidents we saw.”