Ukip leader Paul Nuttall admits his website claim of losing 'close personal friend' at Hillsborough are false

Mr Nuttall continues to deny allegations he lied about being a Hillsborough survivor

Samuel Osborne@SamuelOsborne93
Tuesday 14 February 2017 14:39
Paul Nuttall admits his website claim of losing a 'close personal friend' at Hillsborough is false

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has sparked anger after admitting that claims made on his website that he lost "close personal friends" at Hillsborough are false.

The claim was made on Mr Nuttall's website in 2011, in a post under his name featuring a quote attributed to him.

A post about attempts to block the publication of files concerning the Hillsborough Inquiry reads: "Without them being made public we will never get to the bottom of that appalling tragedy when 96 Liverpool fans including close personal friends of mine lost their lives.”

However, in an interview with Radio City News, the Ukip leader has denied making the claim.

"I haven't lost a close, personal friend," Mr Nuttall said. "I've lost someone who I know."

The claim as it appears on Mr Nuttall's website, posted on 17 August, 2011

Questioned further, he said: "Well, that's not from me. That is absolutely... I'm sorry. I haven't lost anyone who was a close personal friend. It was people who I knew through football and things like that."

He added: "I'm sorry about that. I haven't put that out. That is wrong."

Pressed further, Mr Nuttall went on to vehemently deny allegations he has lied about being a Hillsborough survivor, after claiming to have been present when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death.

He said: "I just want to make it perfectly clear. I was there on that day. I've got witnesses, people who will stand up in court and back me 100 per cent.

"It's cruel and it's nasty. It's making out as if my family are lying as well, which is just not fair or right."

Mr Nuttall says claims he lied about being at Hillsborough are 'cruel and nasty'

He told reporters on Monday he had provided two written statements to the newspaper and could "provide more" but accused the publication of having "twisted" the story.

In the article, it was reported two people, a childhood friend and a former teacher, could not recall Mr Nuttall ever mentioning he had been at the stadium disaster.

The paper also carried a quote from the Hillsborough Family Support Group questioning why he had not offered any support.

Barry Devonside, whose son Christopher, 18, was one of the 96 Hillsborough victims, said: "I would politely say that any credibility that he had has now gone out of the window.

"It's insensitive. We are still awaiting the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service as to whether charges will be brought and we don't need this kind of thing from Paul Nuttall."

He added: "He should know better as a politician and leader of Ukip."

Speaking to presenter Iain Dale on LBC, Hillsborough Family Support Group chairwoman Margaret Aspinall, said: "A lot of people who were there that day did lose close personal friends and I think it's an insult to them as well as to all the families who did lose somebody on that day."

Mr Nuttall, who would have been 12 at the time of the disaster, has said he was at the match with his father and two uncles.

Mr Nuttall is currently under investigation by police following reports of an allegation of election fraud around his upcoming bid to win the Stoke Central by-election.

The Ukip leader is hoping to beat Labour's Gareth Small in order to become Ukip's second MP.

It emerged earlier this month that the house had been declared as Mr Nuttall’s address in his nomination papers for the by-election before he moved in.

The Electoral Commission’s guidance for candidates says those standing in Westminster elections must give their current home address on their nomination papers. Mr Nuttall filed his papers on 31 January.

But in a series of tweets during a visit to the property on 1 February, Channel 4 News political correspondent Michael Crick published images of the empty property, without any furniture inside.

Ukip later said he had to move out of the house house because of fears over his personal safety.

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