LONDON — UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has apologised after falsely claiming that he had lost close friends in the Hillsborough disaster.
Nuttall wrote on his website in 2012 that “close peronal friends” had died in the tragedy.
In the now deleted post, Nuttall wrote that “I lost close personal friends at that match and understand as well as anyone how deep the scars of that tragedy go.”
However, when questioned about the claim on Tuesday, Nuttall was forced to admit that he had not.
“I’m sorry I haven’t lost anyone who was a close personal friend,” he admitted to Dave Easson on the Merseyside-based Radio City Talk.
“I’m sorry about that but that is something that I haven’t put out. That is wrong.”
The statement appeared on Nuttall’s personal blog under his name.
Watch the interview below.
Nuttall, who is standing in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, has faced repeated questions about his involvement in the tragedy after claiming to have been present on the day.
Opponents have questioned his account of the day. However, Nuttall today repeated his account.
“I was there on the day,” he insisted. “I have got witnesses. People who would stand up in court and back me up 100%.
The full transcript
Easson: “I have basically the same story as you. I was eleven outside the Leppings Lane stand. Upper tier. I got in just as Peter Beardslely hit the crossbar. Now, I remember that day vividly and some of it is incredibly vivid and it affects my work and my line of work because I’m a journalist and I was very lucky to then work on the inquest and to be part of Radio City’s coverage of that. It affects me every day. I didn’t lose anybody that day but you say you lost a close personal friend.”
Easson: “It’s on your website.”
Nuttall: “I haven’t lost a close personal friend. I’ve lost someone who I know but I don’t know…”
Easson: “January nineteenth, 2012 on your own site. ‘Lost close personal friends”.” It’s on your website. It’s on your own website Paul.”
Nuttall: “I’m sorry. I haven’t lost anyone who’s a close personal friend but people I knew from the football and things like that.”
Easson: “I basically went through your website last night to search for Hillsborough and it’s Paul Nutgall MEP dot com. It’s your website.”
Nuttall: “I’m sorry about that but you know that’s something that I have put out. That is wrong.”
Easton: “Can you see where this goes with you being a politician? People will find these things and whether you believe that or not you’re gonna be shot at.”
Nuttall: “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%. OK. It’s cruel and it’s nasty. It’s making out that my family is lying as well which is not fair or right.”
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall admits that claims on his website that he lost a “close personal friend” at Hillsborough are false pic.twitter.com/bnNKm29IsU
— Radio City Talk (@RadioCityTalk) February 14, 2017
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