22/02/2017 10:46 GMT

Ukip Donor Arron Banks Stands By Complaint He Is 'Sick To Death' Of Hillsborough

'It’s a Labour smear campaign.'

Matt Cardy via Getty Images
Arron Banks with former Ukip leader Nigel Farage

Ukip donor Arron Banks has said he stands by his comment that he is “sick to death” of hearing about the Hillsborough disaster.

Banks complained to BBC Radio 5 Live this morning he was subject to a “Labour smear campaign”.

He was condemned last week for downplaying in a tweet the impact of the 1989 tragedy in which 96 football fans died. 

Banks made the initial comment after Ukip leader Paul Nuttall admitted claims on his website that he lost “close personal friends” at Hillsborough was not true.

Banks refused to back down in an interview this morning. “It’s a Labour smear campaign. Yes I am sick to death of hearing about Hillsborough,” he said.

“The politicisation of it by the Labour party is atrocious. I know the people up in Liverpool probably get hot under the collar for those comments, but as far as I’m concerned, I stick by what I said.”

He added: “Hillsborough was a disaster.  It was wrong it was covered up... but for the Labour party to politicise it, was a disgrace.”

Nuttall’s campaign to be elected as Mp for Stoke-on-Trent Central at this Thursday’s by-election has been overshadowed by his comments about Hillsborough.

While admitting his website - which has been taken offline - included false claims. Nuttal has denied allegations he was not even at the stadium at the time and said he is the victim of a “coordinated, cruel and almost evil smear campaign”

Earlier this week, two Ukip chairmen resigned from the party over the “crass insensitivity” of Nuttall and Banks.

Banks today defended Nuttall. “It had been on his website since 2011,” he said of the false claims. “You know what happens in politics. The Labour party goes through whatever anyone’s ever said, and then brings it up in the last week of a by-election.”