New(ish) UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has been on the hook a couple of times recently for allegedly exaggerating the truth (or telling outright porkies, depending what you make of his excuses).
He was challenged on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show last month over claims that he had a PHD from an institution that was not able to award them when he claimed to have been there – and that he claimed to have played professional football for Tranmere Rovers, when this was proven not to be the case.
Mr Nuttall backtracked from these exaggerations by claiming that the PHD had been claimed on a Linkedin page that did not belong to him and from the Tranmere claim on the basis that he had played for the club’s youth team and had never claimed to have played for them professionally.
He was also ridiculed in the press in 2015 for appearing in a UKIP promotional image that had the books in the background digitally added, as could be seen by books (and part books) being repeated in adjacent sections of the image.
Make of all that what you will – but the SKWAWKBOX can exclusively reveal that Paul Nuttall can be seen and heard, in video footage, apparently committing what would be the ultimate and unforgivable sin for a Merseysider: making false claims about your involvement in the Hillsborough disaster.
The footage, from the north-west regional edition of the BBC’s Sunday Politics show, shows Nuttall talking just after the success of Hillsborough campaigners in their fight for justice for their loved ones who died in that tragedy.
Mr Nuttall appears to have been keen to in the reflected kudos and, perhaps, to burnish his ‘northern’ credentials because – within the space of less than a minute – he claims to have been in two separate areas of ‘crush’ at the stadium at the same time.
At the 16-second mark of the video, he states:
People like myself who were in the Leppings Lane end, we knew what was going on.
‘We knew what was going on’ – we were on the inside, watching things unfold.
While at 1 min 15s, he claims to have been in the crowd that was massed and stuck outside the Leppings Lane end:
..the crush was going on outside, and I tell you what, people would have died outside, and I was involved in that crush outside.
It’s just about possible he was outside in the crush then got inside, but then you wouldn’t talk as if you were on the inside watching things happen and only add you were in the outside crush as an afterthought.
Here is the video, so you can watch for yourself:
These excerpts from the “Hillsborough Independent Panel Disclosed Material and Report” make clear that the crushes inside and outside were happening at the same time:
At 2.40pm inside the stadium the Leppings Lane central pens, known as 3 and 4, were already very crowded..
..[Between 2.49-2.52pm] In the outer concourse, Superintendent Marshall was dealing with the worsening crush. Over the radio he repeated his request for an exit gate to be opened to relieve the pressure. He added that if the gates were not opened someone would be killed.
Here are some pictures of the crush inside the Leppings Lane end of the Hillsborough ground on that tragic day – please accept my apologies if this is traumatic for you:
And here are pictures of the crush outside the Leppings Lane end, where a police superintendent was repeatedly and unsuccessfully asking the police command post to open a gate to let people escape the area:
Is it credible that a 12yo boy – as Nuttall was at the time – could be inside watching things unfold and outside in crushed-tight crowds simultaneously, or within a very short timescale? Is it credible that he’d be on the outside in the crush then claim to know about it because you were watching from inside, rather than knowing because you were in it?
And if the separate claims cannot both be true, then what does that say about Mr Nuttall’s credibility – especially in the context of the claims he has already been challenged about? Are his claims to have been there at all credible – or do they ring as false as his ‘PhD’?