UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has been faced with calls to resign after wrongly claiming he lost "close personal friends" in the Hillsborough disaster.

Just days away from contesting a parliamentary by-election in Stoke-on-Trent, Mr Nuttall is now facing calls to resign as an MEP and was branded a "coward" after a party press officer offered to take the blame over the posts.

Mr Nuttall has apologised over the claim, carried on his official website for at least six years, after he was forced to admit it was wrong during a live radio interview.

His website has since been taken offline and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has called on the Ukip leader to "explain himself to the people of Liverpool".

He told the Guardian: "It's not the press officer who should be offering their resignation, it should be Paul Nuttall offering his resignation as a candidate, never mind for what party."

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An NHS chief has admitted for the first time hospital trusts will miss their financial target this year as forecasts predict they are on course for a combined deficit of nearly £1 billion.

Jim Mackey, head of NHS Improvement, said efforts are now focused on "containing this to as manageable a number as we can" as trusts struggle with ballooning deficits.

Figures obtained from trusts by the Heath Service Journal (HSJ) show they are heading for a year-end deficit of around £970 million.

This is far higher than the £690m deficit predicted in November and would significantly breach the £580m maximum deficit "control target" set by national leaders.

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Hundreds of millions of pounds must be pumped into schools to ensure they do not lose out under new funding plans, council bosses have warned.

Schools in England are already facing a squeeze on budgets, and many are set to lose out further under Government plans to introduce a new national funding formula, according to London Councils and Core Cities UK.

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Waitrose, Iceland and Marks & Spencer have topped a Which? supermarket consumer satisfaction survey.

The consumer group asked more than 7,000 shoppers about their experience of supermarkets they had used in the previous six months both in store and online.

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