Paul Nuttall says he did not lose 'close friends' at Hillsborough

The Ukip leader, who is contesting the Stoke by-election next week, was forced to admit that the claims on his website about losing a close friend in the 1989 disaster were false.

In an entry on the website dated August 2011, Mr Nuttall called for the government to release files it held on the 1989 Hillsborough disaster while stating that he had lost close personal friends in the tragedy. I haven't lost anyone who was a close personal friend.

"That's not from me", said Nuttall.

"I've lost someone who I know but I don't know who's written that. It's upset me personally, it's upset my family", he said today.

"I have today offered my resignation, I could not be more sorry".

He added: "It was people that I knew through football".

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

He told Radio City: "I want to make it perfectly clear that I was there that day".

However, in a letter published in the North Wales Daily Post in 2010 criticising comments made by the Conservative culture secretary, Nuttall wrote: "I was at Hillsborough that day and am deeply offended by Jeremy Hunt's remarks".

Mr Farage, who has visited Bolton several times on the campaign trail, made a controversial trip inside Bolton Town Hall last June but was asked to leave because of the authority's election rules. I have witnesses who will stand up in court to back me 100%.

"It's cruel, it's nasty. It's making out as if my family are lying as well, which is just not fair or right".

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

"I don't know who's written that".

Mr Nuttall is said to be "furious" with the error, which as a result of "two words" has thrown up another "bad headline" for Ukip in the run-up to the February 23 by-election.

See a snapshot of the statement from Nuttall's website below. The Ukip leader has insisted he was there and has strongly denied claims to the contrary, including one friend telling The Guardian that Nuttall had "never spoken" about Hillsborough.