A week or so ago, UKIP leader and candidate in the Stoke Central parliamentary by-election, Paul Nuttall, missed a hustings event in Stoke. His excuse was that he ‘had’ to attend a media event in London.
At the time, this raised questions about his commitment to the city he is asking to elect him to Parliament, if he prioritised appearing on TV over speaking to his electorate and answering their concerns.
Today, Mr Nuttall has missed another hustings – and UKIP HQ apparently knew nothing about it until well after the fact.
So this time it raises questions about the whereabouts of his spine.
Nuttall has been AWOL for a number of days now, after revelations and a media furore about his false claim to have ‘lost close friends’ in the Hillsborough disaster – and an attempt to shift the blame that succeeded for all of about 10 minutes – made him both a laughing-stock to the public and an object of contempt to everyone genuinely connected to the Hillsborough tragedy.
That is not the only woe he is facing, with revelations about alleged fraud involving expense claims for office and staff also dogging him and both ex-leader Nigel Farage and UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell inadvertently pointing to dodgy use of EU-funded staff, his prospects in the by-election appear to be fading fast.
But to simply fail to turn up – in fact, not to have attended any hustings at all in Stoke since the furore began – and to have disappeared both in person and online, suggests an implosion of unprecedented proportions.
We need to find out – #wheresnutty?!