14/02/2017 22:15 GMT | Updated 15/02/2017 11:08 GMT

Ukip Donor Arron Banks Is 'Sick To Death' Of People 'Milking' Hillsborough Tragedy

Ukip's Paul Nuttall is caught up in false claims.

Ukip donor Arron Banks has been condemned for saying he is “sick to death” of hearing about the Hillsborough disaster, the football stadium tragedy that saw 96 Liverpool fans unlawfully killed.

His comments on Twitter followed Ukip leader Paul Nuttall admitting his claim to have lost a “close personal friend” at the Sheffield stadium was not true.

Nuttall, who is the party’s candidate at the upcoming Stoke by-election, published a statement apologising for the misleading claim that has now been deleted from his website, which had been “posted by a member of my staff”.

Radio City Talk
Nuttall was confronted with the claims on his website during a live radio broadcast

The MEP emphasised he attended the fateful FA Cup semi-final in 1989 and “watched the events of that day unfold with horror”.

The leader’s press secretary Lynda Roughley released a statement last night tendering her resignation. “It’s me who has made this mistake, and one I feel absolutely terrible about,” she wrote.

Banks made his intervention after Daily Mirror columnist Brian Reade, who was at Hillsborough and has campaigned for justice for the families amid more than two decades of cover-ups, questioned the legitimacy of the Ukip leader’s claims.

Banks - a multi-millionaire diamond mine-owning insurance tycoon who has bankrolled Ukip in the past and played a key role in Brexit - responded he was “sick to death of hearing about it”, arguing Hillsborough was “not some sort of cultural happening”.

Reade responded that his comments represented “Ukip in all its ugliness”, and was “all you ever needed to know about Ukip in one ugly quote”.

Banks clarified that he was “sick” of people “milking a tragedy forever”.

In response, Reade underlined the “27 years state cover-up”, and called him a “sad sad little man”.

In April last year, an inquest found the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough were unlawfully killed.

The conclusions followed previous inquests in 1991, which recorded verdicts of accidental death. That ruling was later quashed after it was claimed that authorities had manipulated the timing of events to deflect blame from them and on to fans.

Last year, a jury ruled fan behaviour did not cause or contribute to the tragedy and the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed it was beginning the process of considering criminal charges.

But Banks described Britain’s worst sporting disaster as “an awful accident at a football ground, that’s it”.

Reade pointed out the jury’s verdict of “unlawful killing” as opposed to Hillsborough being “an accident”.

Darren Staples / Reuters
UKIP leader and Stoke Central by-election candidate Paul Nuttall.

Banks continued ...

... “as for a cover-up it was the 80s” ...

... “this could have happened anywhere, anytime” ...

... “overcrowded matches were normal” ...

... “life is unfair and accidents happen” ...

Banks, who ran the Leave.EU campaign group and met Donald Trump with Nigel Farage in New York after the shock US Presidential election result, faced an instant backlash.