Television personality Katie Hopkins has apologised and blamed "poor timing" after offending Twitter users with a joke about life expectancy in Scotland after the fatal helicopter crash in Glasgow.

Hopkins, whose Twitter biography begins with the phrase "Telling it like it is", wrote on the site on Saturday: "Life expectancy in Scotland based 07/08 birth is 59.5. Goodness me. That lot will do anything to avoid working until retirement."

That sparked an online campaign by outraged social media users calling for her to be banned from television where she is a prominent and outspoken commentator on shows including This Morning.

Writing earlier today, she linked to the NHS report she said her tweet was "directly related" to and said: "I apologise to those I offended. It was poor timing".

Earlier this year, a 30ft effigy of Hopkins was burned at the Edenbridge bonfire in Kent.

The figure, with the words ''Speak before you think'' written on the front, was stuffed with oil-soaked newspapers, packed with fireworks and torched after bonfire society members nominated the former Apprentice contestant for her views on children's names.

She caused a stir on This Morning when she said names including Chantelle, Charmaine, Chardonnay and Tyler were lower class.