Katy Balls Katy Balls

Paul Nuttall’s Hillsborough falsehood throws Labour a lifeline in Stoke

It’s Labour’s lucky day. Although the party are currently fielding a foul-mouthed candidate with a questionable attitude towards women in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, Ukip’s candidate Paul Nuttall has just taken the biscuit.

The Ukip leader — who has been touted as the favourite to win the seat — has admitted in a radio interview that claims on his website that he lost ‘close personal friends’ in the Hillsborough disaster are false. This comes after an article in the Guardian looked to cast doubt on his claim he was there when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death.

Presenter: You say you lost a close personal friend…

PN: No I didn’t

Presenter: It’s on your website

PN: I haven’t lost a close personal friend, it’s someone who I know

Presenter: January 9/2012 on your own site – ‘lost close personal friends’, it’s on your website

Nuttall says he was unaware of the claim, which relates to a statement he made on the need for a Hillsborough inquiry. But either way it highlights Ukip’s big problem — a lack of professionalism.

Comparisons have been made between the SNP and Ukip, with many predicting that Nuttall’s party would use the Brexit momentum to do what the SNP managed to do to Labour in Scotland after the independence referendum. To do this, the party need to expose the cracks from the EU referendum campaign which separated Labour from much of its Brexit-backing traditional base, plenty of whom are in Stoke. However, the SNP — like them or not — are a highly organised political force with the structures in place to take power.

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