Claim close friend died at Hillsborough 'wrong', Ukip's Paul Nuttall says

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Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has admitted claims he lost close personal friends in the Hillsborough disaster are false.

Speaking to Liverpool radio station Radio City Talk on Tuesday, he was asked about claims on his website that he had lost "close personal friends" in the 1989 disaster.

He said: "I haven't lost a close personal friend, I've lost someone who I know."

He said he did not know who had written the claims, which appeared on his website in 2011.

He said: "I haven't put that out, that is wrong."

In an entry on the website in August 2011, Mr Nuttall called for the Government to release files on Hillsborough and was quoted as saying: "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."

Mr Nuttall previously said he was "hurt, angry and disgusted" after an article in The Guardian looked to cast doubt on his claim he was present when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death.

In the interview with radio presenter Dave Easson he compared The Guardian's article to coverage in The Sun following the Hillsborough disaster.

He said: "What's happening to me now, in many ways, is a national newspaper is doing precisely what happened to the people there on the day.

"When The Sun told those lies, I've now got The Guardian doing precisely the same to me."

He 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.

In the article, it was reported two people, a childhood friend and a former teacher, could not recall Mr Nuttall ever mentioning he had been at the stadium disaster.

The paper also carried a quote from the Hillsborough Family Support Group questioning why he had not offered any support.

Mr Nuttall, who would have been 12 at the time of the disaster, has said he was at the match with his father and two uncles.