UKIP press officer Lynda Roughley has offered to resign after accepting responsibility for publishing the claim, since debunked, that ‘close personal friends’ of party leader Paul Nuttall had died in the Hillsborough tragedy.
Nuttall has since taken flak from families of the 96 Liverpool fans who were killed in the 1989 stadium disaster who have expressed disgust at the perceived attempt to seek political capital from personal tragedies.
Margaret Aspinall, who lost a son (James) at Hillsborough commented: "I'm appalled that he (Nuttall) would have the cheek to say he lost close personal friends when he didn't.”
Outrage was magnified by the fact that the claims were posted on Nuttall’s own website in a post which both quoted him personally and listed the UKIP leader as author.
According to Sky News, Nuttall is unlikely to accept Roughley’s resignation however, regarding his press officer as a ‘good and loyal servant’.
In a statement Nuttall said: “As a 12-year-old boy I travelled to Sheffield that day, as did so many others to enjoy watching the team that I loved. From the upper tier of the Leppings Lane End of the Hillsborough Stadium I watched the events of that day unfold with horror.
"Today I was made aware of an article on my website which claimed I had lost people close to me at Hillsborough. This was an article that I did not write and did not see prior to it being posted by a member of my staff.”