Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
17 February 2017updated 08 Sep 2021 8:31am

Paul Nuttall blames his difficult week on “co-ordinated evil smears“

The Ukip leader also apologised for failing "to check what was put up on my website in my name".

By Kirstie McCrum

The embattled leader of Ukip told his party’s spring conference he faced “evil smears” following the controversy over his Hillsborough statements.

Paul Nuttall was forced to admit he did not lose close personal friends in the football stadium tragedy, despite old posts on his blog to the contrary. His account that he was there the day of the disaster has also been questioned by The Guardian.

The Ukip candidate in the upcoming Stoke by-election was nevertheless greeted like a hero as he asked for support from the stage at the Bolton Macron Stadium shortly before midday.

He spoke for 11 minutes before raising the issues which have dogged him.

“I’ve had a bit of a difficult week,” he said, to a murmur in the hall. “Firstly, I take the blame for the fact that I failed to check what was put up on my website in my name. That was my fault, and I apologise.”

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Your guide to the best writing across politics, ideas, books and culture - both in the New Statesman and from elsewhere - sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

But he went on to add: “I do not apologise for what is a co-ordinated cruel and almost evil smear campaign that has been directed towards me.

Content from our partners
A better future starts at home
How to create an inclusive workplace and embrace neurodiversity
Universal Credit falls short of covering the bare essentials. That needs to change

“It is based on lies from sources who have not been named. It has been a tough week for me, but I will not allow them to break me and I will not allow them to break Ukip.”

Read more: The definitive list of everyone Paul Nuttall has ever blamed

He said that he had been asked by journalists if he still had the support of the party, and appeared to be choked with emotion when impromptu applause, whistles and cheers lasting almost a whole minute seemingly gave him his answer.

“Thank you, I’m a bit overwhelmed,” he responded. 

Earlier, former leader Nigel Farage had also referenced the issues facing Nuttall.

“Paul has had a very, very difficult week,” he laughed, adding: “By-elections are not much fun, they’re a rough old game.”