Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has deleted a tweet in which he mistakenly announced the death of former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.
A spokesperson at the Treasury told Reuters that the message had been a genuine mistake and was expressing his reaction to a horrific incident.
The former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot at close range while he was giving a speech in western Japan at about 11:30pm on Friday.
Japanese media has reported that Mr Abe is showing no vital signs, however it has not been reported that the politician has died.
His brother, defence minister Nobuo Kishi, said earlier today that Mr Abe was receiving blood transfusions.
In a now deleted message of condolence, Mr Zahawi said: “Heart breaking news from Japan. PM Shinzo Abe has died after being shot by an attacker.
“We enter politics to serve and try and make the world a better place, a good man has lost his life in pursuit of that noble aim. May he rest in eternal peace.”
Japan has very low rates of gun crime and so a shooting of this kind is extremely rare.
The attacker was apprehended very quickly after the incident and local media reports have quoted the police as saying that the weapon is thought to have been homemade.
Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida has said that Mr Abe is in a critical condition.
“Currently doctors are doing everything they can, at this moment. I am hoping and praying that former prime minister Abe will survive this,” he said on Friday.