As a close personal friend and a colleague I’ve known for many years, it pains me to admit this. The mainstream media are on to something: my Leader, Paul Nuttall, is a liar.

Not about Hillsborough. He’d never lie about something like that. It’s too close to him, you see. He’s reluctant to even talk about it. Hardly surprising for a 12 year old boy who witnessed the deaths of 96 people in a state of utter turmoil and one of the worst accidents to take place on British soil for generations. That kind of thing has a habit of scarring someone for life. I wish the mainstream media would shut up about that.

In fact, I’ll cut them a deal. If they lay off Paul Nuttall over Hillsborough and all that nonsense, I’ll give them the inside scoop on a politician and party leader who lies routinely on a daily basis.

The depths of depravity to which that man would sink are astonishing. Once or twice I’ve been due to meet him. “My train will be in at midday”, he promises faithfully, but it turns out not to be. His train’s been delayed, sometimes for upwards of 30 minutes – proving that to him, his word means nothing.

And do you know what? He lays the blame on other people too. Oh, it was the fault of the train company. Or there were works on the line. Once I think his tardiness was the fault of an entire city: he missed his train and blamed a traffic jam.

Then sometimes I’ll be on the phone to him, and something urgent comes up. He says ‘I’ll call you back in ten minutes’, and he gets busy. Sometimes he doesn’t call back for almost an hour. Other times, even more shockingly, he’s so busy that he doesn’t phone back at all.

The last time I was General Secretary, and Paul was Party Chairman, sometimes he’d tell me to take the day off because he thought I needed a bit of a break. But when vital, urgent work came up later in the day, do you know what he did? He phoned me and ask me to do a bit more work. That kind of whopper happens all the time with Paul Nuttall.

The media could have a field day with that. Hasn’t Paul Nuttall ever heard of the Working Time Directive? Oh he’ll probably find some weasel words to get out of it, like he always does, and claim that the UK has an opt-out from that Directive. That’s what this man, our Leader, is like.

It didn’t stop there either. The tissue of lies runs deeper. Once I was really depressed, and he told me that it would all feel a bit better in the morning. It didn’t. Not even a little bit. And he’d promised too.

Lies begin at home. I think it was in May 2008 (or was it ’07?) that I was across in Derby ward in Bootle, helping Paul campaign in his Council seat. “We’re going to win this”, he said, and he didn’t. He only got 38% of the vote and finished second. I was gutted. That was a promise.

That pesky politician, he’s moved house. He started in Bootle, then moved to Liverpool, and more recently to Stoke. So although Labour’s Suffolk-raised candidate Gareth Snell tweets about knowing nothing about Stoke because he doesn’t live there, Paul sneakily decides that if he’s going to represent Stoke he’d actually quite like to move into the area. Imagine that, a politician moving closer to the people he’s hoping to represent. And then having to move out of his home – just because of a few death threats and break-in attempts after his address was publicised on the national news? There’s always an excuse with Paul.

Paul’s been lying to me for a decade, and I’ve gotten used to it now. With Labour and Tory politicians, they lie about impersonal things. They lie about Brexit, about crime, about immigration, about education. You name a policy area, they’ve probably lied about it. The Liberal Democrats just say two contradictory things at the same time, so then they can claim afterwards that they were telling the truth. Then there’s the Greens. Like Lewis Carroll’s White Queen speaking to Alice, sometimes they’ll believe at least six impossible things before breakfast.

The truly insidious nature of Paul Nuttall is this: he doesn’t lie about policy like the other parties. You get lulled into a false sense of security when he tells the truth straight down the middle on every political issue there is, cutting through the spin.

By being so scrupulously honest in his job, he makes you think he’s always going to be honest in his personal life too. And then, out of nowhere, the lie will surface.

I remember he’d promised to be at the NEC meeting on time at the start of January. The whole room was expecting him, but he didn’t turn up till later. Did he admit responsibility? No. It was London’s fault. He claimed there was some kind of ‘tube strike’ or other utter nonsense. And where he led, others followed: suddenly everyone who was late was claiming the ‘tube strike’ to be the problem.

Blaming the poor downtrodden unionised employees rather than himself? That sounds like our esteemed Leader.