Paul Nuttall admits claims he'd lost 'close friends' at Hillsborough are FALSE

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Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has admitted claims on his website that he lost "close, personal friends" at Hillsborough are not true.

A post published on the site in 2011 claimed Hillsborough was an 'appalling tragedy when 96 Liverpool fans including close personal friends of mine lost their lives'.

In a press release on his website in August 2011, the Bootle born politician urged the government to release files on Hillsborough - in which 96 Liverpool supporters died. "I haven't lost anyone who is a close personal friend".

Mr Nuttall repeatedly insisted he had been a survivor of the tragedy but the Hillsborough Families Support Group said they had had no recollection of saying he was present or offering to help in their long fight for justice.

Questioned further, he said: "Well, that's not from me".

"I have today offered my resignation, I could not be more sorry". "I've got witnesses. I have people who will stand up in court and back me 100%".

He continued: "I'm sorry about that, I haven't put that out".

Mr Nuttall 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.

Nuttall went on to add: "I just want to make it perfectly clear". One of his former teachers, a Roman Catholic priest, told the paper that the school believed it had been aware of the identities of every boy who had been at Hillsborough in order to help them, and that Mr Nuttall was not among them.

Speaking on radio on Tuesday, he said: "I was there that day".

When pressed further on his whereabouts on that tragic day in Sheffield, he suggested that there's a campaign that's "cruel and it's nasty".

In November, he made embarrassing denial of a claim he played professional football for his local team.

On Monday, Mr Nuttall's Labour opponent in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election apologised for posting a series of abusive tweets about women.

The admission comes just four days after the Guardian revealed that Nuttall had also apparently lied about being a Hillsborough survivor. "I am sure voters in Stoke will punish him as a result".