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Anorak | Did UKIP leader use Hillsborough lie to promote himself?

Did UKIP leader use Hillsborough lie to promote himself?

by | 14th, February 2017

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall did not lose “close personal friends” at Hillsborough. In 2011, a post under Mr Nuttall’s name on his official website featured a quote attributed to him. The post regarding efforts to block the publication of files concerning the Hillsborough Inquiry went:

“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.”

When challenged, Nuttall told  Radio City News : “I haven’t lost a close, personal friend. I’ve lost someone who I know… Well, that’s not from me… This was an article that I did not write and did not see prior to it being posted by a member of my staff. Of course I take responsibility for those things that are put out under my name, but I was genuinely taken aback when this claim was brought to my attention and am both appalled and very sorry that an impression was given that was not accurate.”

That radio interview followed his denial that he had, as the Guardian puts it, “lied about being a survivor of the disaster which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989”.

Nuttall, who is contesting the Stoke Central by election for Ukip on 23 February, features in a Guardian story that challenges his claim to have been at match. The paper notes:

Nuttall was 12 at the time of the disaster, and was a pupil at Savio high school in Bootle, Liverpool. One of his former teachers, a Roman Catholic priest, has told the Guardian that the school believed it had been aware of the identities of every boy who had been at Hillsborough in order to help them through a difficult period, and that Nuttall was not among them.

A fellow pupil at the school who says he has been a friend of Nuttall for decades said the Ukip leader had never mentioned being there. “I have been very good friends with Paul for over 25 years,” he said, adding that during that time they had “never spoken” about Hillsborough.

What does that prove? Nothing. The Guardian says so:

While the teacher and friend expressed surprise that Nuttall has said he was at Hillsborough, their comments do not prove that he was not present.

He said he was there. A UKIP statement tells us: “Paul was indeed at Hillsborough. He attended the match with his father and other family members. For political opponents to suggest otherwise and for left-wing media organisations to promote such claims constitutes a new low for the Labour party and its associates.”

Says 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 per cent. It’s cruel and it’s nasty.

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Posted: 14th, February 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink