Paul Nuttall didn’t lose ‘close personal friends’ at Hillsborough – but won’t admit he lied about it

What other 'alternative facts' has Nuttall put out there?


It’s not often that a Ukipper admits to being wrong, but today party leader Paul Nuttall has acknowledged that the claim that he lost ‘close personal friends’ at Hillsborough was false.

He maintains he was at the stadium in Sheffield that day, although some have questioned that too.

Speaking to Liverpool’s Radio City Talk, Nuttall acknowledged that the claim was ‘wrong’ but, extraordinarily, denied that it had come from him.

Presented with a printout from his own website Nuttall said:

“That’s not from me I’m sorry. I haven’t lost anyone who is a close personal friend. It was people I knew through football. That is something I haven’t put out. It is wrong.”

So who did put it out then? And why did Nuttall feign surprise and insist on examining the paper himself, when this story has been in the headlines for days?

This is the performance of a schoolchild who’s been caught in a lie but sticks with it anyway no matter what evidence the teacher produces. Which is pretty funny, but also not funny at all.

Not only is it cheap and offensive to use the tragedy for political gain, it’s also one in a series of lies that, taken individually, seem fairly innocuous.

Nuttall has falsely claimed to have a PhD from Liverpool Hope University and to have played professional football for Tranmere Rovers. In both cases, he blamed members of his staff for the ‘errors’, and we can expect the same to happen this time around.

But these lies shouldn’t be taken lightly. As we’ve seen in the US in recent weeks, embarrassing self-aggrandising lies — regarding the size of an inauguration crowd, for example — should set off alarm bells. Politicians who tell casual, seemingly insignificant lies, are evincing a broader disregard for the truth.

So, besides Hillsborough, his PhD and his football career, what else is the UKIP leader lying about?

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

See: Fake News: Leave.EU publishes junk poll calling Stoke by-election for UKIP

See: Does Paul Nuttall think abortion doctors should face the death penalty?

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.