Paul Nuttall aide keeps job after false Hillsborough claim exposed on live radio show

Paul Nuttall has refused to accept the resignation of a colleague who took the blame for a false claim he lost "close personal friends" in the Hillsborough disaster.

Lynda Roughley offered to resign on Tuesday after Ukip leader Mr Nuttall was forced to retract the claim - carried by his official website for six years - during a live radio interview.

According to a Ukip spokesperson, Mr Nuttall turned down the offer on the grounds Ms Roughley shouldn't lose her job for a "minor error".

Ms Roughley had previously given years of loyal and effective service, the spokesperson said.

Mr Nuttall is standing in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election Credit: PA

During the interview with Radio City Talk in Liverpool, Mr Nutall was challenged over the claim on his website.

He told presenter Dave Easton: "I haven't lost a close personal friend, I've lost someone who I know. I haven't put that out, that is wrong."

In a statement later, Mr Nuttall, who is standing for Ukip in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, said he was "appalled" when he found out what had happened.

"This was an article that I did not write and did not see prior to it being posted by a member of my staff," he explained.

"Of course I take responsibility for those things that are put out under my name, but I was genuinely taken aback when this claim was brought to my attention and am both appalled and very sorry that an impression was given that was not accurate."

Ms Roughley said she was "entirely responsible" for the website post and had offered her resignation

96 fans lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster Credit: PA

"I am frankly mortified at the distress this issue has caused Paul and may have caused to anyone involved with the Hillsborough tragedy. I could not be more sorry," she said.

On Wednesday, a Ukip spokesman revealed that the resignation had been rejected.

"She has worked very long and hard for many, many years of loyal and effective service. We all make mistakes," the statement said.

"Obviously Paul is grateful for her offer, but what sort of chap would he be to say her career is dead for what seems to be a minor error six years ago?"

Meanwhile, families of some of the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough voiced their anger at the false claim.

Barry Devonside, whose son Christopher, 18, was among the victims, said the Ukip leader's credibility had "gone out of the window".

"It's insensitive. We are still awaiting the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service as to whether charges will be brought and we don't need this kind of thing from Paul Nuttall," he said.