The comments, made by Malone on This Morning, sparked immediate outrage on YouTube and Twitter.

She said of the tragedy in Derby, in which Mick and Maired Philpott lost their six children: “This was an accident waiting to happen. There’s a lot of resentment out there for families exactly like this, especially now, especially with the country in the state that it’s in, there’s not much money and people have seen families maybe like this one taking advantage.”

Malone added: “I mean the culture of the family and the fact that they consistently did interviews about their situation. They did bring attention to themselves.”

A spokesman for This Morning distanced the TV programme from the comments in the wake of the backlash.

“The views expressed in the This Morning newspaper review on Monday were those of Carole Malone and not shared by ITV or This Morning,” he said.

“Our thoughts are with the family and all those affected by this tragedy at this difficult time.”

The Philpott children – Duwayne, 13, Jade, ten,  John, nine, Jack, seven,  Jessie, six, and Jayden, five – all died in the blaze at their council house in Derby.

Police have confirmed that an arsonist started the fire, as petrol had been poured through the family’s letterbox.

Malone said in her controversial appearance: “This family became a target a couple of years ago and I suspect they have many enemies out there because they were seen to be on benefits, they were seen to be asking for a bigger council house and I think they upset a lot of people at the time.”

On YouTube, one user wrote: ‘This is despicable! No one, Whether rich or poor, employed or unemployed deserves to lose a child, let alone 6!”

However, there were some comments online that seemed to agree with Malone. One tweet posted after her appearance read: “I can’t help but think that Carole Malone might be right about the comments she made on @itvthismorning”.

Locals in Derby have been fundraising for the childrens’ funeral.

Mick Philpott is a father of 17 by five women. He thanked his three eldest children for helping him to cope after the tragedy.

Image: Getty