Ukip has been plunged into crisis by the resignation of two Merseyside officials over their leader’s false comments about the Hillsborough disaster.
Paul Nuttall’s claim to have lost “close friends” in the tragedy – which he later admitted was untrue – was condemned as “intolerable to the people of Liverpool”, in a joint statement.
One of the officials walking out, Stuart Monkcom, was the chairman of Mr Nuttall’s own branch in his home city of Liverpool.
Even worse for the beleaguered leader, the statement criticising his comments goes on to say he has shown he is “not fit to lead the party”.
The timing could not be more catastrophic, just three days before a make-or-break by-election in Stoke which Mr Nuttall was once a favourite to win.
Nevertheless, Ukip admitted it was braced for further resignations of both officials and members later today.
more to follow