After yet more developments in the saga of UKIP leader Paul Nuttall’s increasingly tenuous relationship with reality, it is becoming clear that not only is his attempt to become an MP via the Stoke on Trent Central by-election as good as finished, but also that his entire political career is now dead in the water. And the whole sorry business begs the question of why the Kippers have got away without scrutiny for so long.
After UKIP’s main source of money Arron Banks insulted the memory of the 96 who lost their lives in the Hillsborough stadium disaster yesterday, Nuttall said there would be a statement later in the day. No statement materialised. The Liverpool Echo, which has been on the “Bad Bootle Meff’s” case from the start, noted that it had made repeated efforts to contact Nuttall, but had received no response. And there was more.
Nuttall had claimed that a BBC report, titled “Hillsborough files: Cabinet office appeals against disclosure” and containing a quote from him on the withheld files under discussion “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” had copied an incorrect and later corrected statement from his website.
But Steve Walker at The Skwawkbox demonstrated, through the HTML metadata from both the Beeb’s website, and Nuttall’s own (recovered from the Internet Archive), that the BBC’s page had been posted BEFORE the one on Nuttall’s site. So if anyone had copied anything, it was Nuttall and his team copying from the Beeb.
It got worse: as Mike Smithson at Political Betting observed, following the revelations about Nuttall’s Hillsborough deceptions - especially his claim, recently retracted, to have lost close personal friends in the disaster - punters had begun to desert the UKIP cause in Stoke Central. From being only 2% behind Labour with those putting money on the outcome of next week’s by-election, UKIP was now a whole 25% adrift.
And it got worse still: after Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson called on Nuttall to “stand down as a Euro-MP and ‘explain himself to the people of Liverpool’ rather than seek a new political office by contesting next week’s Stoke-on-Trent by-election”, Sunny Hundal discovered that Nuttall’s website - that would be all of it - had been taken down. He’s running for election and his website is taken down a week before polling.
It got worse still: after Nuttall had gone walkabout after blaming someone else for all the dodgy stories and failing to stand up to Arron Banks, he was branded a coward by Labour and Lib Dem MPs. The Hillsborough families are not happy with his attempts to milk their tragedy for political gain. But at least the UKIP campaign is still leafletting in Stoke.
The problem is that the latest Stoke Nuttall leaflet includes a commitment to “Prioritise local housing for local people”. The UKIP leader could make a personal contribution to that campaign by vacating that house in Stoke where he wasn’t living when he put it on his nomination papers - if he’s ever resided there at all.
Paul Nuttall’s political career is Game Over. Now it’s time for the media to start scrutinising the rest of the UKIP shower as well as they’ve belatedly done with the Bad Bootle Meff.